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Downloaded Essays 2009

Downloaded Essays 2009

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Published by: michelle_cartwright1794 on Aug 15, 2009
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Character Analysis of Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway
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on Jul 3, 2006
Character Analysis of Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway
 A man is tested against nature and then tested again by how well he behaves in relation to other men,” (46) Richard Lehan stated in The Great Gatsby: The Limits of Wonder. In The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald tested each of his characters by giving him or her a place in society and seeing howeach one would react to his or her surroundings. East Egg and West Egg are the areas where themain characters in this novel lived and through stereotypes of Tom, Daisy, Gatsby and Nick, it is clear what East and West Egg represent.Because of East Eggers’ old, exclusive money, they seemed to think that they were superior and if any obstacle appeared in their path, they were secure with their money behind them. In ModernCritical Views: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harold Bloom states that “In Gatsby we see that the charmingirresponsibility of the flapper has developed into the criminal amorality of Daisy Buchanan, and thatthe smug conceit of the Rich Boy has hardened into Tom Buchanan’s arrogant cruelty,” (74). WhenDaisy ran over Myrtle Wilson, she and Tom simply disappeared and left Gatsby to deal with thepunishment of a crime that he never committed. Tom’s affair also represented their ideas on morality – that as long as he had old money, he could do whatever he wanted. “Surrounded from childhood bythe artificial security of wealth, accustomed to owning rather than wanting, they lack anxiety or illusion, frustration or fulfillment,” (75).West Egg represents western values such as romanticism and capitalism. Nick Carraway and JayGatsby are typical possessors of “new money,” who achieved wealth but still are not accepted intothe exclusive society of East Egg. Gatsby was much more of a romantist that Nick was, for he dideverything – attain massive amounts of wealth, throw huge parties, involve himself in illegal businessaffairs, and even embark upon an affair – in order to win back Daisy. “In creating himself, Gatsby hadno social or moral context to give his intensity direction,” (Lehan 31). With no other life goal thanDaisy, Gatsby ended up engaging in immoral activities.Both East Eggers and West Eggers were wealthy, but because of one major difference in their lives,they would not and could not ever understand each other. That difference is the American Dream.“Those who possess the necessary means lack the will, motive or capacity to pursue a dream,”(Bloom 75). The rich do not care to detach themselves from the meaningless, materialistic lives thatthey lead in order to pursue a dream, because everything else they have was handed to them on asilver platter. West Eggers, did not have the “necessary means” - money – to easily follow a dream,but through the American Dream, they rose up “from rags to riches” because they had the will.Even though money plays a big role in The Great Gatsby, wealth was not Gatsby’s American Dream.“The thirst for money is a crucial motive in Gatsby (as in Fitzgerald’s other novels), and yet none of his major characters are materialists, for money is never their final goal,” (74). Money was theelement that connected Gatsby to Daisy. Money for Daisy was an excuse for her to act however shedesired. There was no way for their romance to work out if money was such an important ingredient.That is why Daisy gave Gatsby up when Tom revealed to her the origin of Gatsby’s wealth (Lehan76).Nick Carraway was the only character in The Great Gatsby who realized the truth about life. “NickCarraway, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the variety of life, attains Fitzgerald’s maturerealization that the protective enchantment of the romantic ideal lies in its remoteness from actuality,”(Boom 74). Just like everyone else, Nick too was captivated by the immense wealth of Tom andDaisy. Then, he realized that they were nothing but “two of the very rich, who in the end representnothing but themselves,” (78). Nick stated at the end of Gatsby that “They were careless people, Tomand Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the messthey made. . .,” (Fitzgerald 187-188).Nick at first was also impressed by the American Dream and how Gatsby was able to achieve it. Butthen Nick realized that money was not Gatsby’s ultimate goal, and that his ideal was impossible toaccomplish because he could not control Daisy. “The desire for Daisy energizes his world, fuels hisvery being; and when he loses her, romantic possibility is exhausted, a romantic state of minddepleted, (Lehan 73). Nick told us that, “he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid ahigh price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar skythrough frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how rawthe sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass,” (Fitzgerald 169).At the end of The Great Gatsby, the theme of the corruption of the American dream is apparent thatthe East does “symbolize contemporary decadence and the West does not symbolize the pristinevirtues of an earlier America,” (Bloom 78). Tom and Daisy ended up running away from a crime andletting Gatsby die as a result. Gatsby failed to represent the true, legitimate West because he
Character Analysis of Tom Buchanan from the Great Gatsby
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on Aug 7, 2006

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