In the opening 3 chapters of the novel, he main themes of wealth and sexist stereotypes are established. As this novel is set in the 1920’s, it is Fitzgerald’s personal view on society and the problems which were mostly caused by wealth and the overwhelming desire to achieve the American Dream. At the beginning, we see through Nick’s eyes, Tom Buchanan he is the symbol of ‘Living the American Dream’ and all that means to be a man in the ‘Golden Age. ‘ Buchanan’s entrance is described as ‘standing with his legs wide open,’ and ‘Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance. This creates a forceful and a very arrogant tmosphere around Tom, as his character issues dominance, plus being so physically strong ‘a giant pack of muscle’, we get the sense that Nick is intimidated by him, but also hates him. Nick knows however, that he is superior intellectually. ‘One of those men who reach such excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savours of anti-climax;’ this clearly reinforces Nick’s distaste for Buchanan and maybe touches on Buchanan’s physical anger and frustration as his life peaked at 21.
In contrast to Tom, Daisy his wife is portrayed totally differently. Due to social standing, she had to be beautiful, dainty, heavenly, goddess like. But all this social pressure put on her by society and her husband, means that women of her standing had no time to work on anything else. Their purpose in life was to be a prize for their rich husbands. Daisy’s description distances her from her husband and makes the reader question how could they have ever married. ‘They were both in white… blown back after a short flight around the house. Describing them like birds is Fitzgerald’s way of telling us to worship these monuments of beauty who are so above us mere mortals. Of course, its not sarcastic at first, Nick genuinely love and cares for his cousin, even if she is a bit of acuum and shallow person. But the white implies purity and cleanliness, like a dove. ‘She looked at me with an absolute smirk on her lovely face, as if she asserted her membership in a rather distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belonged. ‘ This contrasts to her character later on as the story unfolds.
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Myrtle, Tom’s mistress is very different to Daisy. She is overtly sexualised by her description, ‘she carried her flesh sensuously as some woman can’ and by this we already judge her as being a bit of a tart and shallow character. But in the 1 920’s it was perfectly acceptable for a man to ave a partner outside marriage, which strengthens Fitzgerald’s judgement on those of higher standing through Nick’s commentating throughout the whole Myrtle debacle. In comparison, the ‘The Diamond as Big as The Riff, wealth is also a key factor and pivotal theme throughout the story.
This story demonstrates what too much wealth can do to a family (make you a murderer, liar and an owner of slaves. ) It also removes morals and the gold theist makes you kill others for personal gain. The main man of the story, John Unger, is a boy of reasonable wealth who is sent to the most prestigious and wealthy school in America. He is known as a ‘wealth ” worshipper’. He is similar to Nick in that sense, socializing with those higher up than himself, but unlike Nick, he thrives in the company of the obscenely rich and wealthy.
As he states, ‘l like very rich people’ and the richa a fella is, the more I like him. ‘ John is the embodiment of a wealth-obsessed country, through Fitzgerald’s eyes. Contrary to belief, unlike John, Tom Buchanan only likes the Old Wealth, people who have had it in their families for generations, almost had it thrust upon them. Continuing the comparison, the giant parties that Gatsby holds hat attract the whole island are in fact a celebration Of wealth, money and the 1920’s loose morals. Men and girls came like moths among the whisperings, the champagne and the stars,’ creates an image of temptation and impulsiveness, as if everyone is shaking off responsibility. This celebration of wealth and money completely contrasts to The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’. Percy’s father is too wealthy for his ovvTl good, but he is almost infatuated with stopping the world from sharing this colossal diamond. In both stories, having wealth and power ultimately leads to their deaths. PART TWO After being introduced to Gatsby, an aura of mystery and shadow lurks around him, many of the guests ask questions about him at his parties.
This bubble of gossip and scandal lingers with him, but Nick ignores all that and soon becomes one of his closest companions. As the story progresses, we see more of Daisy’s character, and her standing in the story become clear. Daisy and Gatsby havent seen each other for five years, and all that time Gatsby has developed this perfect image, a fantasy world where Daisy is everything he could hope for in another. His first ‘accidental meeting with Daisy is so orced and fake ‘strained counterfeit of perfect ease,’ even makes the reader fell uncomfortable.
Before Daisy even arrives, the extent he goes to impress Daisy and the amount of pressure he puts on himself to make sure everything is perfect (like his dream). ‘In a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold- coloured tie,’ dressed up to fulfil his expectations of himself and what he thinks Daisy would want him to be. This rich exterior Gatsby hopes to mask his shameful past and fit in with the people of ‘old money. ‘ As Gatsby and Daisy re-start their love affair, we begin to see more Of Daisy’s character nfold in the novel.
Fitzgerald first associates Daisy with everything pure and unspoiled. She is portrayed as an innocent in a world full of corruption, ‘that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool. ‘ Unfortunately, she is not worthy of GatsbVs devotion, ‘Five years next November’ and constant attention as she turns out to be shallow and a hurtful woman, ‘Sophisticated – God I’m sophisticated! ‘ . Throughout the tour around Gatsbys house, she is entranced by his material wealth and his mansion, but her compliments are empty and shallow. They mean nothing. I’ve never seen uch – such beautiful shirts before,’ and ‘a clear artificial tone,’ show how fake Daisy is, but due to her wealth and beauty, society sees her as some kind of goddess above other people. This is also a comment from Fitzgerald, saying how twisted and corrupt 1920’s was. Daisy’s fagade or beauty masks how she is hurtful and vacuous as a person. Gatsby, however doesn’t change, he is a character that is child-like in the fact that he never gives up on his dream and will do anything to achieve it, or in this case, her. As he guides her, he constantly seeks approval from Daisy, ‘What do you think of that? es stopped raining. He needs her approval on everything because if she’s happy, then he can be happy. Gatsby is ‘running down like an over-wound clock,’ as the dream cannot stop now that Daisy is so close to him. ‘But outside Gatsbys window it began to rain again’ this symbolises that the dream can never happen as Daisy still loves Tom and his money more than Gatsby, but Gatsby refuses to believe it. An awkward social scene between Tom Buchanan and a couple of friends transpires and it clearly shows the divide between the ‘Old money’ and the ‘New money. Tell him we couldn’t wait,’ just creates a riff between them, and the fact that they make fun of his social isunderstanding shows how succeeding and achieving the American Dream makes you corrupt as a person. It’s actually a blessing that Gatsby never achieves his dream because if he did, he would become corrupt, and his alternative reality in each he lives would be spoiled by the impurities of the 1920’s. As another extravagant party rears its head, Tom and Daisy attend. Immediately, she is disappointed and it isn’t to her tastes. She was appalled by West Egg,’ ‘appalled by the raw vigour,’ and Gatsby realizes this, and it utterly depresses him. Gatsby, at the end of the night wants to ‘repeat the ast,’ where Daisy and him were really in love, before Tom came and corrupted her with money. Before Daisy met Tom, ‘she used to be able to understand,’ they had a connection. Gatsbys world has been in a mess since Daisy left, but Daisy has changed, and become a different person that cannot fit the mould of his perfect life. Gatsby feels that he needs Daisy to complete him.
This epic love is completely one sided and an anti-climax as for 5 years Gatsby has built up this wealth and faqade, to distract himself from Daisy’s absence in his life. The introduction to Daisy’s child is more solid proof for Gatsby that Daisy has changed and moved on. Of course this child is just another mask, to portray a happy family and successful life which was expected in the 1 920’s. The Buchanan’s child is the symbol of a stable and successful marriage, a faqade that completes their mask to wear in public. nfortunately, it’s not true and this poor child is not even loved by her mother. All Daisy wants to do is ‘show you off,’ and it’s at this point, we see how shallow and materialistic she is at heart. Gatsby’s reaction to this child is pure surprise, ‘he had never really believed in its existence before. ‘ Defining he child as ‘it’ shows how little care and compassion adults have for the next generation. Although for Gatsby, it is a symbol of Tom and Daisy, and Gatsby not being needed in Daisy life anymore. The reader sees Daisy in a new light, as a mother.
All the praise and love she showers over the child, ‘your own mother who loves you,’ and ‘blessed precious’ completely contradict everything she said to Nick at the beginning of the novel. Throughout chapter 7, the reader is constantly reminded of the oppressing heat, which symbolises the intensity of the situation in this love triangle between Gatsby, Daisy and Tom. Tom, at this point, feels he is the victim; his wife has fallen in love with Gatsby and no one seems to be really paying any attention to him.
During this time, Fitzgerald has made it clear that Tom is a horrendous character. He cheats, he’s back stabbing, but he’s rich. So by that one attribute, he is deemed socially acceptable by 1920’s standards. Tom’s character in the Great Gatsby is a symbol of corruption and prejudice that festers in the top class of American society. ‘We’ve got to beat them down,’ referencing to the rise of the Coloured Empires,’ but it could also be referring to lower and middle lass, who constantly fighting for this ideal way of life, but cannot as the system is constantly against them.
Gatsby throughout the story is seen as the hero, however in my opinion he is more of the victim than Daisy or Wilson. Gatsby in this scene is ridiculed by Tom, calling him a ‘common swindler,’ and ‘Mr nobody from nowhere. ‘ Gatsby throughout the book and even at his death, he doesn’t achieve his dreams. But his constant drive and push to achieve his dreams makes him the hero, as he has been uncorrupted by the American Dream, because he never achieved it. During this chapter, Daisy lips from his grasp: he still refuses to believe that Daisy doesn’t love him.
As Daisy says ‘l never loved him,’ and with ‘reluctance’ the reader sees how Daisy was never really ever going to elope with Gatsby. It’s because ‘you want too much,’ he cannot achieve his dreams due to his poor past and shady money earning. It is at this point with the reader that Gatsby realises that the dream he’s been pursuing all these years can never be achieved due to the prejudice and ultimate corruptness of the American Dream. Gatsby has the money, but not the status that is promised with all the wealth. The death of Mrs Wilson is bug metaphor for of Daisy shrugging off the responsibility for all her actions.