Reading the World

Archives for The Great Gatsby

Nick Carraway as the narrator

After reading the book, I can’t help but think that the one true character that is actually “wealthy” as in well rounded is Nick Carraway himself. Nick’s description of himself as someone who descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, born in the bond business and someone who studied at Yale. It seems that he had a good childhood and the advice that his father gave him “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had” is something you would tell your child to remind them that they are fortunate and should not take anything for granted. I also felt that Nick Carraway as a outsider to this new community of the young and newly rich, we as readers were able to see the flaws of the upper class and that it was some kind of a illusion that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen if the novel was narrated through a different character.

Significance of the green light?

I think the green light on Daisy’s dock symbolizes a path or a glowing beacon of hope for Gatsby. Because in chapter 1 Nick Carraway narrates he saw Gatsby reach towards it. To me the green light represents wealth like money and the light as something to lead him towards his goal. Also, throughout the book, it was not written that the green light stopped glowing, so this is a sign that Gatsby never truly attained his dream of becoming rich and died trying to. I thought the author, Scott Fitzgerald was clever to incorporate the light because it can be seen to be so close to Gatsby, almost touchable yet still far away as his dream looms over him, daunting him.

Gatsby’s grief, time and looking’s back into the past?

Throughout the novel, the character Gatsby reflects the past and tries to recaptures something that was lost.  He is obsessed about rekindling his love for Daisy and what they had when they were young. Gatsby is stuck not being able to change the past and stuck not being able to move forward because of it. In some ways, I pitied this character because I feel like if he didn’t hold on to the memory of Daisy and how he wanted her back, all of Gatsby’s effort would have been for nothing, and if it wasn’t for his desire to be rich with a high social class, perhaps his life to him was not worth living.

The illusion

The Great Gatsby is a forever live novel because it is representation of The American Dream. it gives hope to human society. Gatsby, a poor man from North Dakota, is capable of becoming a millionaire. It also allows the readers to experience a unkind and cruel reality directly. The many idea that was shown in the novel all relate to the daily life of a person, especially when it comes to the chase of a dream.The whole story have a main focus on the love of Gatsby and Daisy. Daisy loves him greatly, as can be recognise when she says to him “you always look so cool”, but when she realises that Gatsby’s wealth is unsecured due to its illegal method. she choose to stay with an unfaithful and unpleasant man just for his money. To me, Gatsby wasn’t in love with Daisy he was obsessed with her. He loved everything she represented the wealth, the beauty, the perfection. In the end, he wasn’t in love with her at all, he was in love with the illusion of her that he made it up himself.

Gatsby’s vision

1920s was when the economic grew rapidly. New businesses grew big, tall buildings were build and the city streets were bright at night times. People changed their lifestyle into something that was more fun than what they lived before in life, the understanding of many things changed. Like their understanding of life, fun, and socializing. The social life of Americans were much more different than ever. Gatsby took his shot and became instant millionaire by being a bootlegger. It was the moment when people are seeking for availability of fun. That may be the reason why Gatsby became a millionaire so fast. The great Gatsby showed the capability of people when they want something. I personally believe it is true for all of us, if we want something real bad we’d never know the limit of our ability to achieve it.


Is it morally incorrect for Daisy, a married person to have an affair with someone whom she may have loved more? Or do we readers see that her actions are justified in the circumstance where Tom has an abusive past with her?

The answer to both questions could have been different when answered in different periods of time or when answered by people with dissimilar cultural backgrounds. It is possible that when the book was first published (1925), readers at the time may have viewed that her actions are wrong. This clearly reflects on the real life’s marriage/divorce convention; as time goes by people seem to accept divorces/separation between couples more, certain society may take longer to come to accept it. Infidelity or disloyalty, however may be be a different story, this is due to the way how a person’s viewpoint on this particular subject is usually influenced by that person’s religion background. As a result, the viewpoint is unlikely to change much. But it still gives an idea how certain moral viewpoints in the society may not be always be fixed, it could be more of a “flow”. People of the current generation may have a more favorable viewpoint towards Daisy/Gatsby whereas when the book was first published, readers may have a different attitude for each of the characters. However, it is still a matter of debate whether infidelity is incorrect or not. The majority of the modern readers may still see it as incorrect but that does not stop it from happening all the time.

Nick Carraway’s Narration

I find it interesting how Fitzgerald chooses to tell the story through the eyes of Nick rather than a third person narration or through Gatsby’s eyes himself. This demonstrates and suggests how by the use of first person narration, Fitzgerald is able to add on his personal thoughts and feelings about the characters. But also by doing this, the character of Gatsby could be given an “outsider/stranger” character. However, readers will not be able to know what exactly is on Gatsby’s mind, this results in many possible interpretation as the story progresses. Readers could still be aware that towards the end of the book, there is a sense of conflict and tension among the characters. So by the use of narration through Nick’s eyes, the readers are given a position of a viewer as if watching the actual development of the story. But from the way how Nick sees it, life goes on, even after Gatsby’s death. This undermines the idea of whether Gatsby is truly “great” as described by the book title. It could possibly be just a cover where his true self is just identical to other man in a failed American dream.

True Love or Obsession?

Towards the end of the book, there is a question about whether Daisy truly loves Gatsby or is it just a temporary obsession. According to several evidences, it is clearly implied that she still has feeling for Tom as shown when she is unable to state that she has never loved him. At first, after her reunion with Gatsby she may have a stronger feeling towards him than that of Tom but her position may have changed when Tom discloses the source of Gatsby’s wealth. At the end, not only has she sided with Tom but her attitude towards Gatsby may have been altered as he tries to give excuses, lying that the claim about his bootlegging business is a false. Consequently, it could cause her to feel that Gatsby may not be totally sincere and that her action for having an affair is morally incorrect. However, Gatsby himself may have truly loved Daisy as suggested by his action in organizing big parties in his house – only in the hope of attracting Daisy to one day visit his house. But in the end, it could have been more of an obsession since he tries to make her leave Tom and so he can have her  for himself alone.

Drowning in wealth

Jay Gatsby did show us that too much wealth never helped anyone to true happiness, even he who came from poor humble beginnings. His main goal was to obtain all the wealth so that he can be worthy being with Daisy Buchanan. And when he did obtain it he still did not get Daisy. Many times he felt like he was so close to his goal but  it does not matter anymore because in the end he died taking the blame for a crime Daisy committed, and Daisy did not care about it. Nor did the thousands of people who went to Gatsby’s parties. Even though Gatsby did made it to the same status as Daisy he still did not earn her and even if he was still alive he would probably never earn her . As Nick has mentioned “They’re a rotten crowd” I really get the feeling of how careless and selfish people can be.  What Gatsby made so great was that he was never going to be a part of that crowd. Even though he talk like them, dressed like them he never have their thoughts or share their intentions. He was both within and without in the parties he threw or the business he dealt with. The fact that he wasn’t born rich did let him have the visions of the true society. Nothing can obstruct him from his goal he never lost his true determination. The sad thing is that Gatsby deny the fact that Daisy have long became part of the crowd and that is was what killed him.

Nick Carraway

The narrator, Nick Carraway, is the only character we met in the book that stands out from all other characters. Everyone seems to be engulfed by the idea of making as much wealth for themselves as possible and, as I have said in my other post, is making the whole community rotten by the way they behave. Although Nick reveals a very small amount of facts about himself, the author portrays him as a more sensible person than the rest. For example, when he first went to Gatsby’s party, he was the only one that cared to find the host and thank him for the invitation he has received. Meanwhile, the rest of the guests who invited themselves to the party, never tried to find out who Gatsby is and just enjoys the free entertainment and the gossip about the host.
It is interesting to see the society through Nick Carraway’s eyes, since he is unlike the rest. Although the people of the high society surround him, he did not change himself to become like them as much. He still keeps his loyalty and honesty until the end.

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