My Take on the Great Gatsby
Taking place in a time of large disparity between the have and have nothings, the worlds of west and east egg chime with a magical fever of old and new wealth, a battle of sharks of sorts, where in each, claim they alone will carve America in their image. Yet, this is secondary to the plight of the players in this story. The search for happiness floats in its own arrogance above the characters, casting tiny cupid arrows of poison and waiting for them to fumble in their self-absorbed greatness and each, in turn, wallowing in their need for self gratification. This story, The Great Gatsby, a pompous and purposely pretentious vision into the love of self, wealth, and the materialism of the American dream, is the narrators' (Nick Carraway) retelling of time spent with the upper society that he and Gatsby, for what it's worth, did not quite fit in with.
The object of Gatsby's affection, which he believes is the prize laid bare for his success of amassing wealth, Mrs. Daisy Buchanan, radiates and portrays the sexual sophistication and desirability of the women of the time period. For Gatsby, Daisy is a gem of humanity that he could not find elsewhere and so in the end is the sole obsession of his daily routines. The parties, the money, the proper tongue, all may have been his American dream at some point but became mere vehicles to recapture the past and once again experience true love. This longing is evident when he is staring across the water, as he hopes the beacon of his heart claims the one that got away.
Gatsby's character is laid bare not in his extravagance or his wealth but in his detachment from it, this is shown through his reluctance to be within the mix of his own lavish parties. His humanity is brought forth in his awkwardness and unsure manner, when meeting with Daisy for the first time after so many years apart. Yet, his obsession with Daisy becomes toxic because he cannot have her the way he envisions he should. Even though Daisy and he once again share the love they lost, Gatsby steadily watches his dream collapse with every hour spent in the shadow of Tom. Because of this shadow he becomes more recluse, wanting to steal every minute he can and spend it with Daisy.
The love of wealth chains Daisy to Tom, as Tom is chained to Daisy. Like pure blood dog breeding, they cannot remove themselves from each other because their respective love interests are in sub-standard classes outside of their own. Tom shows his lack of respect for Daisy and love of self gratification by entertaining his mistress and furthermore in the way he treats his mistress. Tom loves Daisy but loves himself more and she sees this quite plainly, unfortunately, the comfort and security of Tom's wealth solidifies the inevitable outcome that Daisy was never going to leave Tom in the first place.
George & Mertle Wilson, Jordan Baker and Nick all played the good little pawns. George & Mertle were the sad case of the lower class trying to dream for something bigger. Mertle had the air of someone who would do anything for some taste of that wealth. Her husband just wanted to attain happiness with his wife. Jordan is the only character that seemed to have achieved some semblance of happiness. Sliding in an out of the world and into her own, doing as she wished, she was in some ways the chameleon able to be in all worlds without envy, always drifting at her own fancy.
Nick allowed himself to be used as facilitator, which could be attributed to his infatuation with Gatsby. He was in the end the only true friend Gatsby had left and in his own way loved Gatsby, for the purity of Gatsby's drive and love inspired him in his uneventful life. The characters fed selfishly off of one another, until they drained out the purity of human relationships of those around them. Each character, for all their greedy need of exposure to the grander of life in wealth, failed to succeed in a major area of the American dream - Happiness.
© 2013 Warren Curtis Daniels Jr