The Great Gatsby Essay

Instead of living “across the tracks,”  Nick Carraway lives across the lake from the Gatsby mansion, which he can see lit up at night during Gatsby’s famous VIP parties. The water stretching out between them and the difficulty of access suggest the social gap between them as well. Although Gatsby befriends Carraway, Nick nevertheless remains a spectator of the New England upper crust and never really belongs. The colour green as a symbol of reclusion, exclusion, wealth, desire (envy and lust), and disenchantment is also a predominant leit motif throughout the novel.

See the enote reference below in this regard. One’s origin (an aspect of setting) also plays an important role in this story. From enotes ‘Critique of American Upper Class Values’: ‘For the “old” (inherited) money crowd, family lineage is often the first, and perhaps most important, indicator of class rank. This theme runs through the entire novel. Tom’s old Chicago family is “enormously wealthy. ” In fact, “his position” was what attracted Daisy to him…. Gatsby, one the other hand, is of unknown background. Rumors circulate that he is related to everyone from the Kaiser to Satan.

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Eventually we learn that Gatsby comes from a humble, midwestern family. He grew up poor. The rivalry between the established families and the nouveau riche is another aspect when considering setting as it establishes the social backdrop of the story. Setting as a time period also plays an important role in this novel. Enotes essay ‘Romance and Cynicism in The Great Gatsby’ explains: Fitzgerald presents romanticism and cynicism in the Jazz Age as two sides of the same coin, and as two forces that can never be reconciled.

The Buchanons and Jordan never seemed to have had dreams beyond attaining success and status; Gatsby’s dreams prove to be his undoing; and Nick’s dream of success in New York dissolves into a cynical mess he can only escape by leaving. Through these lives, Fitzgerald seems to be telling us that romantic ideals are impossible in early 20th-Century America, that they are a relic of a bygone era. He also appears to mourn that era, throwing all his characters into a world where no one can trust anyone else and no good deed goes unpunished.

Fitzgerald uses setting in a very interesting way to reveal the very significant differences between social classes. Fitzgerald sets the story in New York which is important because New York itself has many different settings which each embodying different social classes. A major part of the story is set in East egg and and west egg, two very different paces. East egg is the place that represents the rich, the class or people who have been in the the upper class and will be for a long time. The west egg on the other hand represents the up and coming wealth in the setting.

The people there are shown as the group that is living their lives with disregard for any consequences. The setting is also in and near New York were there is a cross between poverty and wealth. There is both decay and extravagant affluence. The rich are separate from the poor in the setting to show how far apart the classes are. Fitzgerald arranged the story of the Great Gatsby so it is set in places that define the people who dwell there and show the differences between them. 1st topic The pursuit of Daisy has been symbolized by that green light at the end of the dock for years. If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” said Gatsby. “You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock. ” That one little word always parallels his pursuit of her. You know how once you have something for a while, it isn’t nearly as good as the longing or the thrill of the chase? Now by the end of chapter 5 wherein this quote has been retrieved from, he has her. The chase is over. Moving on, Nick narrates: Possibly it occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever.

This statement proves the above point. Let’s keep watching: Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one. Gatsby regards Daisy similarly to the object that represents her. There is no discussion here as to the relationship of love, but plenty about her existence as an object. This representation surely drew Gatsby in, although I’m not quite sure it’s in the way you are looking for.

In Chapter 7 of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Nick and Gatsby have a very revealing conversation as they wait at the car for the rest of the company in order to “go to town” on this hot and sticky afternoon. It begins by Nick making a random comment about Daisy’s voice. Nick simply says, “She’s got an indiscreet voice. . . . It’s full of–”  Ah, and what does Gatsby say? Does Gatsby say that Daisy’s voice is full of melody such as the song of an angel? Does Gatsby say that Daisy’s voice is full of love for him, as he knows that Daisy has loved him all her life?

Does Gatsby say that Daisy’s voice is full of beauty, like soft flower petals blowing in a soft breeze? No. Gatsby says, “her voice is full of money. ” Full of love and romance, eh? No. This is when the revelation of Gatsby’s true feelings are revealed:  obsession. Gatsby isn’t in love with Daisy. He is obsessed with Daisy. He has been for years. Daisy, a representation of the “old rich” has driven him to the point of madness. Just look at the common ideas of love/romance that he has neglected to use here. He has negated the language of love with the language of money. Worse, he has tried to replicate that money in order to win her.

Sadly, one cannot replicate the “old money” of East Egg, so Gatsby had to settle for the more vulgar “new money” of West Egg. So, to answer your question, the above quote by Gatsby is a perfect example of how our main character truly doesn’t love Daisy, but loves what she represents:  “old money. ”  It is his obsession that drives him onward. Ironically, Nick spends a considerable time after Gatsby’s statement agreeing with him! (Ha! )  This, yet again, proves that only someone not in love with Daisy would utter that statement. In the beginning of chapter 8, Gatsby finally tells Nick about his past with Daisy.

In this passage, he goes into detail about what attracted him so to Daisy. These reasons include, “he had never been in such a beautiful house before. But what gave it an air of breathless intensity was that Daisy lived there – it was as casual a thing to her as his tent out at camp was to him” (148), “It excited him too, that many men had already loved Daisy – it increased her value in his eyes. ” (149). From these quotes, it is quite clear that what Gatsby is in love with it not so much Daisy as a person, but the idea of Daisy, the beautiful, rich girl that is desired by men everywhere.


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