Example Of Research Paper On The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald tells of how love is like a fantasy that despite its delicate and whimsical character, it is able to exist even in the harshest environment. Jay Gatsby was a man who never gave up on the idea of love despite the years that he was separated from the woman he loved. He lived his life believing that the time will come when he and Daisy Buchanan, a woman of leisure who was also married to a man of immense wealth and power, would eventually be together despite all the odds stacked against him. He worked hard and entered an illegal business of selling alcohol with a man who appeared to be more of an imaginary person rather than a real one. According to Nick, the narrator in the story, Meyer Wolfsheim was “a small, flat-nosed Jew” who looked at him “with two fine growths of hair which luxuriated in either nostril” (Fitzgerald 75). Despite Wolfsheim’s incongruous appearance and apparent connection to illegal activities, he spoke of deep trust in his relationship with Gatsby and his being a man “of fine breeding” (Fitzgerald 78).
These contradictions and oxymoron are everywhere in the story, highlighting the way how contradictions of several ideas came to exist in one story and made it a whole. The story was told based on Nick Carraway’s point of view, the only person in the story who was able to understand Jay Gatsby and his conflicting personality. Gatsby himself was a bunch of contradictions personified, with his romantic view of love that would transcend all, as he showed through his illegal business in order to reach Daisy’s status, but still resorted to repeatedly staring at her from a far distance from his grand mansion. He was a person who became corrupted by his love for Daisy, a woman who herself was full of contradictions. She was rich and was married to a powerful and rich man but chose to put up with the infidelity of her husband. Despite knowing Gatsby’s genuine love for her, she unscrupulously used him to take revenge at her husband. She represented Gatsby’s fragile and everlasting love but was also the poison that corrupted Gatsby.
Despite all the contradictions that were presented in the movie, several similarities could be gleaned between Nick and Fitzgerald. It has been said that authors present bits of pieces of themselves in the stories they write, and it was no different in The Great Gatsby. Nick was a moral person who seemed to be an observer as much as a participant in the story. He told the story according to what he saw but at the same time, he also took part in the web of lies that surrounded the characters. Like Nick, Fitzgerald was also a Midwesterner who set adrift the East where he was confronted by the wealthy but complicated people. Nick was a reflective man who wanted more in life than what the Midwest could offer, an idea that Fitzgerald shared as he ventured into writing to earn money and convince the young woman he loved to marry him. Both Fitzgerald and Carraway were educated at Ivy League schools and both had the reflective kind of personality that enabled them to observe people and separate themselves from everything that they see in front of them.
Like Fitzgerald’s idea of the American dream as that which is corrupt and brought “the excessive injustices of the Industrial Revolution, the lax regulations on sanitation, the dehumanizing living conditions, the exploitation of children” (Hearne 192) in order to gain huge profit was the same corrupt society of the rich that he showed in the story. The rich gorged themselves in lavish parties offered by Gatsby and exhibited hypocrisy as they laughed and mocked Gatsby secretly for his extravagant but lacking in class display of opulence, or the way Tom, Myrtle, Nick, Jordan, Jay, and Daisy went on with their affairs with each other despite everyone of them knowing about it. Apart from being an observer, Nick was also an integral part of the story as he himself showed contradictions. He prided himself for being honest and different from the others as he wrote a letter to someone people assumed was his fiancée even when he was having an affair with Jordan Baker, whom he never bothered to write to because he was otherwise occupied by her relationship with another girl from the accounting division of his bank (Hays 320).
Both Fitzgerald and Carraway’s forage to the glamorous world of the wealthy in the East had them giving in to their fascination to both wealth and the “riotous frivolity of the jazz age” (McInemey). Fitzgerald’s detailed description of the lavishness of inherited wealth, and the glamour and glitter that Gatsby painstakingly achieved in order to impress Daisy, only to be shut down, further implied how he, like Carraway, was also pulled in by the same wealth and glamour that he ultimately disapproved. This distaste was shown when Carraway said how he “wanted no more of the riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart” (Fitzgerald 4). Despite coming from a well-to-do family in the Midwest, he was still appalled by the corruption of the human heart and mind of the East.
Perhaps the most poignant scene in the story that would characterized the dramatic part of the story were expressed in the following lines:
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms fartherand then one fine morning – So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. (Fitzgerald 193).
This conclusion to the story brought back the idea of the past and the dreams of the
future. Gatsby used the green light to represent Daisy, the woman that he would only see as a faint light in the distance, far from his reach and seemingly unattainable. Despite the great barrier that separated them, he believed in the concept of transcending and recreating the past. However, The “rowing forward against the current” only to be brought back a they are trying to reach the green light indicates that people are unable to move forward from their past. It is something that man cannot escape, but in Nick’s interpretation, there was neither approval nor cynical disillusionment that can be gleaned. Like his study of Gatsby’s life, he only had respect albeit melancholic for the life that Gatsby chose and courageously lived for himself.
The Great Gatsby is a story that has survived the test of time and the ever
evolving society. The balance that was established by Fitzgerald’s “expression of his attraction and repulsion, his sympathy and judgment” (McInerney) worked well in establishing a balance that lent the story an interesting contradiction. Fitzgerald’s acceptance of his own contradictions, expressed in the lines:
That’s my Middle Westthe street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty darkI see now
that this has been a story of the West, after all – Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life. (Fitzgerald 188)
Fitzgerald was constantly present in Nick Carraway, and pieces of himself were also
present in other characters. What was a series of contradiction within him were presented in the story through every character and the circumstances he created. This amalgamation of all the paradoxes and inconsistencies was what made the story and Fiitzgerald himself a great story.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby.New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995. Print.
Hays, Peter L. “Oxymoron in The Great Gatsby.” Papers on Language and Literature.318-325.
Hearne, Kimberly. “Fitzgerald’s Rendering of a Dream.” The Explicator 68.3 (2010): 189-194.
McInerny, Jay. “Jay McInerney: why Gatsby is so great.” Theguardian.com. TheGuardian,
10 June 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
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