Francis Scott Fitzgerald is the American writer that managed to describe the richness and carelessness of the 1920s in the united states in bright colors. Mcdougal himself was the child of the golden period, called the “Jazz Age”. While those eccentric and lavish times have left now, readers can still enjoy the heritage of his books that bring about the spirit of freedom, joy, and selfishness. “The Great Gatsby” could be the most well-known of his novels. It absolutely was written in 1925 – the time of Dry Law, gangster wars, impressive parties, and spectacular lifestyles.

The life span path of the protagonist of this book, Jay Gatsby, slightly resembles Fitzgerald himself. In his writing career, Fitzgerald has seen every thing – from admiration and acclaim for his first novel “This Side of Paradise” in 1920, to destructive indifference and cruel critique for several his other works. Similarly, for Jay Gatsby, the achievement of the American dream ended up being a devastating life tragedy – his way near the top of the societal ladder, regardless of the fame and wealth it brought him, led to disappointment and loss. After reading the book the reader is able to recognize that what people want deep inside are not material goods, but emotional ones – sincere, reciprocal, and eternal love.

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However for now, let’s forget about the shadows and transport ourselves to the American life of the 1920s: imagine yourself being surrounded by beautiful women, endless joy, sweet jazz music, people having fun, and the waves breaking on the shore next to the lavish mansion of the famous Jay Gatsby, the king of party hosts.

Main Characters of the Book

The book is way more complicated than relationships between two persons — protagonist Jay Gatsby and his beloved Daisy Buchanan.

Jay Gatsby

Jay Gatsby

Who's Jay Gatsby? Is that he a mystery, a fraud, a murderer, a rich man, or even a poor man? He is all those things to a point, and at precisely the same time he is non-e of those things. This man represents the collective image of a society where everybody can pick faculties that they can relate solely to. Gatsby is just a romantic man, a dreamer who enjoys beauty and kindness. That he lives with the fantasy of being along with his beloved, Daisy. But at precisely the same time, he is the item of his consumerist society; he defines his worth by the tribute others pay to him.

Fitzgerald devotes probably the most attention to the initial aspect of Jay’s personality – his romantic side. That he spends lots of time looking for past ideals and dreams, which in reality grow to be lost and phony. Daisy is the dream, but also may be the death of Gatsby. The truth that his image of her doesn’t hold true portrays the key message of the book – a civilization whose morals can be manipulated by the desire for material goods can't be humane, nor happy.

Through the entire whole book, Gatsby’s image remains a bit blurry and undefined, partly because his story is told through the eyes of another person – Nick Carraway. The two opposite aspects of his personality that live alongside in Gatsby’s character are represented by the people that he surrounds himself by. Nick represents the bright side.

Nick Carraway

Nick is the personification of human kindness, the sweetness of a man’s soul, honesty, and internal courage. The fact that that he narrates the story defines its tone—despite showing both sides of the “lost generation”, the book still reads in a positive and pleasant way. Nick’s story unfolds along with that of Jay Gatsby: for example , that he falls in deep love with Jordan while telling how Jay fell for Daisy. Nick and Gatsby share many faculties: courage, dignity, and sincere benevolence. Nevertheless , unlike Gatsby, Nick can resist the temptations and dark sides. After realizing the shallowness of his beloved Jordan, he finds the strength to fundamentally break up their relationship, while Gatsby continues his relationship with Daisy—trying to live the false dream he had created in his head.

Nick sees the true intentions of Jay Gatsby, and what's even more essential, he foresees how they might play out. He is a good friend, essentially he's the only person who stays by his friend’s side towards the end of the novel once everyone else has turned their backs on him. It’s ironic how Nick is one of the few people to arrive at the funeral, while hundreds had enjoyed Gatsby’s parties. Mr Carraway is really a responsible man who is maybe not afraid to stand up to society. He is able to make a moral choice in circumstances that dictate otherwise. It is because of individuals like Nick that the writer believed his society can find moral grounds in the complex American reality of those times.

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On the reverse side, the topic of the wicked American dream is centered in the novel around a few characters with a big “commercial” emphasis – particularly, they are Daisy Buchanan, her husband Tom Buchanan, and her friend Jordan.

Daisy Buchanan

Daisy Buchanan is really a woman that has been born in to wealth. She actually is a beautiful woman with a melodious voice. She is fun, easygoing, but hard to attain. Her inaccessibility turns her into a target for Gatsby. But in the end, there has been a distance between them: when Gatsby finally became rich, Daisy had already married and had a kid. When Daisy left her husband for Gatsby, the differences in values included in this still kept the lovebirds apart. Daisy’s initial image as a lovely woman, a wife and a mother crashed with every next chapter of the book.

Read our article «The Great Gatsby book through Daisy Buchanan character» to see how her character unfolds in the novel

Daisy is a woman born in to her times, she is frivolous and featherbrained. For example , she's easily excited by the luxurious interior planning of Gatsby’s mansion, the large wardrobe he possesses, and his perceived greatness in the eyes of her environments. Gatsby admits that the sound of her voice sounds like money. She is also a woman of great tragedy, as she's not able to live the life she truly wants. She first turns down Gatsby once they were young (and ergo she betrays her true feelings, in fact), then she desires to be with him (because of his riches), but is too scared to leave her husband (where she betrays her feelings again).

Tom Buchanan

If Jay Gatsby balances a constant battle between his two different personas, Tom is a personification of one pair of them. He's overly selfish, confident in his uniqueness, projects physical strength, holds on steadily to his individualistic views, and just isn't shy in demonstrating his ignorance and limited mind-set. Just like his wife, from his birth, Tom enjoyed being of high status and substantially benefiting from his family’s budget. That’s why his morals and a few ideas about humanity are largely defined when you're wealthy. For him, the horrors of other social classes as well as death (like the death of Myrtle Wilson) are secondary concepts not worth his attention.

The external beauty of the Buchanan couple is contrasted with the ugliness within them, their emptiness, and their selfishness. Tom can spend extended hours watching the shop windows, fascinated by the sparkles from the diamonds. Yet, that he can’t hold a serious thought, even for a minute. Tom’s lack of development and personal progress through the entire pages of the book are set from the 1st chapter, where the author gift ideas him as: “…one of these men who reach this acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything after ward savors of anti-climax”.

Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan and Tom Buchanan

Jordan Baker

Jordan is described in the novel as a dishonest, selfish, overly ambitious, and also cruel woman. She is undeniably pretty and devotes plenty of effort in to her looks. But after the reader gets past her looks, she actually is empty. The romantic involvement between her and Nick ends after the young man can see in to her soul and discover her emptiness. The couple includes a completely different lifestyle. Nick is careful when thinking about how his actions might affect the people that surround him. At the same time Jordan couldn’t care less about how exactly she may influence other folks; she only cares in what others think about her.

Jordan is cynical and overly self-opinionated. She wants to win and doesn’t always play fair. The young lady isn't as rich as her friend Daisy, and that’s why she actually is determined to accomplish whatever it takes to create her way into the world of the rich and famous. The writer stresses the dishonesty of Jordan – that she actually is willing to do whatever it takes to mold reality to just how she wants it to be.

Meyer Wolfsheim

Mr. Wolfsheim is just a secondary character in the novel who's not described in depth by the author. To the contrary, through his lines, Meyer Wolfsheim delivers some valuable information about yesteryear and present of other characters in the novel, like Nick Carraway. Meyer knows Gatsby through small business ventures. Meyer is even assumed to play a great role in the 1919 World Series. The dealings of Mr. Wolfsheim are demonstrably shady, which also casts doubt in regards to the legitimacy of Gatsby’s wealth.

Short Summary of The Great Gatsby Plot

The story is narrated by Nick Carraway, who is 30 years old and comes from a wealthy family. Chapter 1 tells us how that he starts his business in credit dealings after returning from the war. That he rented a home in West Egg over the bay from the house of his 2nd cousin Daisy. Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan. Nick knows Tom from college, that he spent a while with the couple before in Chicago. Tom is well-build physically and loaded financially to the stage that “… he left Chicago and came east in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for example he'd brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest. It had been hard to understand that a man in my own generation was wealthy enough to accomplish that” (Chapter 1). Tom started cheating on his wife immediately after the engagement, she is aware of it, however they both appear to ignore it. Tom even introduces Nick to his lover Myrtle Wilson, who also is actually the wife of Tom’s friend Wilson. In chapter 2 Tom explains the ignorance of Wilson:

"Wilson? He thinks she would go to see her sister in New York. He is so dumb he does not know he is alive. "

Alongside Nick lives Jay Gatsby. His house is a huge villa that becomes flooded with people and parties every week-end. One day Nick gets an invitation to 1 of these parties. This is strange – frequently people don’t wait for an invitation, they just arrive. Not many of the people who attend the parties have observed the host, he remains a mystery to most of these. However , as time passes Nick becomes friends with Gatsby, and something day Jay asks Nick to set up an “accidental” ending up in his cousin Daisy.

Works out Gatsby met Daisy five years ago when he was a lieutenant. The two fell in love, but the circumstances didn’t enable them to be together. Right before marriage Daisy received a letter that nearly made her call off the engagement. As one of her brides maids recalls in chapter 4:

“She wouldn't forget about the letter... she did not say yet another word. We gave her spirits of ammonia and put ice on her forehead and hooked her back to her dress and around 30 minutes later whenever we walked from the room the pearls were around her neck and the incident was over. Next day at five o'clock she married Tom Buchanan without so much as a shiver and began on a three months' trip to the South Seas”.

Once the old love birds meet for the very first time after so many years, both are very emotional. Jay shows Daisy his house, they throw several memories about, and the feelings ignite once again. Daisy begins to frequently attend Gatsby’s parties. He wants her to leave her husband and run away with him. Tom enters right into a battle for his wife. One day his friend Wilson finds out that Myrtle is unfaithful, but he doesn’t know that she actually is cheating on him with Tom. When Wilson tells Tom he wants to just take Myrtle from this city, Tom realizes that he is losing not merely his wife, but also his mistress:

Chapter 7 “Tom was feeling the hot whips of panic. His wife and his mistress, until one hour ago secure and inviolate, were slipping precipitately from his control”

Gatsby confronts Tom, telling him that Daisy has always loved him but only married Tom because Gatsby was poor when the two met. Attempting to save his marriage, Tom tells Daisy that Jay’s income originates from a shady source to create her think before leaving her husband. Later, they take a trip. On the way home Daisy rides in an automobile with Gatsby, while everyone else is with Tom. At the same time, Myrtle argues with her husband and incurs the beige Rolls-Royce—thinking that it was Tom riding there. As a result, she gets stepped on and dies—the car doesn’t even stop. Afterwards, Jay tells Nick that it had been Daisy driving the car.

Gatsby spends the entire following day next to Daisy’s mansion planning to talk to her. Instead, Daisy packs her things and runs away with her husband, without leaving any address. In chapter six the reader finds out more about Gatsby’s life story: his real name is James Gatz. He changed his name at age 17 since “he had the name ready for some time... The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself” (Chapter 6). Jay tells Nick about most of the hardships he'd to go through to be rich to finally be together with Daisy.

Tom tells Wilson that the vehicle that killed his wife belongs to Gatsby. Having no a cure for justice, that he comes to Gatsby’s mansion, kills him, after which shoots himself as well. Nick calls most of the people who frequented Gatsby’s parties, but only three arrive at the funeral: Jay’s father, Nick, one other party visitor. Everyone ignores the funeral, because it is not as fun to go to them.

Video Summary & Analysis

Themes in the Great Gatsby

The Roaring Twenties

After World War 1, 1919-1929 were years of rapid economic growth for america which ended in the fantastic Depression in the 1930s. To some extent, the results of such rapid growth and the sudden fall that happened afterwards are pictured in “The Great Gatsby”. The book demonstrates how easily people your investment past and be careless. Like the people that took benefit of Gatsby’s hospitality repaid their host by not bothering to get to know him. And everybody was fine with that, there is no demand or value in being sincere, attentive, or honest.

The American Dream

Jay Gatsby represents the icon of the American dream concept – he is a self-made man who went from being extremely poor to becoming unbelievably rich.

Chapter 6 “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination had never truly accepted them as his parents at all”

Yet through his hard work, that he made it in to high-class. But did the achievement of materialistic things really make him happy? The novel ends with a philosophical quote that once again reiterates the transience of life:

Chapter 9 “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne right back ceaselessly in to the past”
The American Dream in “The Great Gatsby” by Francis Scott Fitzgerald

Gatsby is not the last person to be swallowed and forgotten with a society of quick results and massive consumption, but maybe that he was one of many better examples for teaching others to comprehend people for who they're.

Love

Love is something which many books/movies/poems and other art creations praise. Love is what motivates Gatsby to ultimately achieve the wealth and high-status that he enjoys if the reader meets him for the first time. But there is still another side to the theme of love in “The Great Gatsby” – because it turns out, love can be true or fake. A person can adore another person, but very often we fall in love with a picture or ideal of anyone that we wish to believe in. While Jay has real feelings for Daisy, he admits that she loves money and comfort more than she loves him. Daisy thinks she loves Jay, in fact, she's so overrun by the artificial standards set by the society that she can’t even love herself.

Class (Old Money, New Money, No Money)

The novel demonstrates how much class influences one’s position in society. Tom and Daisy are both born in to wealth, and their characters are formed by the huge benefits that their wealth produces. They are exceptionally reckless individuals who ruin people’s lives and hide behind the wall of their wealth. Moreover, there's a distinction between people born into wealth and those who've earned it. First of all, the writer manages to show a lot of positive traits in Gatsby’s character (exactly because he is of the “new money generation”). He knows the value of money and he has the goodness in him that helped him achieve his accomplishments. Alternatively, there is a prejudice of old money towards the new wealthy generation: Tom rushes to indicate to Daisy that Jay is rich, but the origins of his wealth will vary, and it rids Daisy of the little courage she had collected to leave her husband for Gatsby.

Past and Future

“The Great Gatsby” describes a happy amount of time in American history that is distinctively different from yesteryear (when there clearly was war and horror) and the future of the period (when the truly amazing Depression hit). This theme is reflected in characters that take pleasure in the present, without thinking about the future or any consequences their actions usually takes. Yet, some characters are stuck in the past—like Gatsby, who loves the Daisy that he met years back yet will not notice how she’s changed. The novel also sends a message not to judge people too quickly—all of us possess some hidden truth that shaped the way we behave today.

Symbolism in the Great Gatsby

The Green Light and the Color Green

The Green Light in “The Great Gatsby”

The green light, in “The Great Gatsby”, is related to happiness, prosperity, and abundance. Traditionally, it's regarded as Gatsby’s desire to be with Daisy. But, there are alternative methods to interpret this symbol. The visitors would follow the flashing green light when visiting Gatsby’s lavish parties. Daisy often watched and heard those parties while seeing the green glow on the dock across the bay. For Daisy, green was the color of richness and desire. She says in chapter six:

“These things excite me so… If you want to kiss me any moment during the evening, Nick, just let me know and I'm going to be glad to set up it for you personally. Just mention my name. Or present a green card. I am giving out green…"

The light also symbolizes the birth and death of Gatsby: Jay Gatsby was reborn alongside the luxurious living he had designed for himself, nonetheless it wasn’t long until this new life had ended. As Nick says in chapter 1:

“Involuntarily I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except an individual green light, minute and far away… When I looked once again for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness. ”
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The Eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg

The eyes of Doctor Eckleburg are first presented in chapter 2:

“The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic — their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face but, alternatively, from a couple of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose. ”

They have been nothing more than the leftovers of a portrait or a picture, but in the novel they represent the symbol of somebody who is watching within the main characters. The eyes don’t judge them, nevertheless the tension can there be. The fact that these eyes are abandoned demonstrates how uncomfortable Daisy and the other main characters felt whilst seeing them. It's almost like looking in the mirror and not liking what you see – but, after all, it's you who gives the meaning to the image you see inside.

The Valley of Ashes

The Valley of Ashes could be the territory that the main characters pass when traveling between West Egg and Nyc. It is a long stretch of devastated land that “hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile” (Chapter 2). It is related to greyness, dullness, and boredom. The people, houses, and streets there are so uninteresting and ordinary that the author describes it as: “ashes simply take the kinds of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air” (chapter 2). It's the place that most of the characters of The Great Gatsby want to prevent the most, yet they have to bypass it when traveling to Nyc. Thus, The Valley of Ashes is just a symbol of the bitter reality that so many people attempt to escape inside their lives.

East and West

The contrasts and dramatic differences between East and West in the USA aren't new symbols for literature. The East, in this case, represents wealth, fame, and brightness. The West represents tradition, origins, and values. In the story, East Egg is the place where traditionally, rich people lived. While West Egg is, in Nick’s own words, “the less trendy of the two” (Chapter 1). Still another way to interpret this symbol is that East and West represent the old and new wealth, or the real and fake lives characters lead.

Gatsby's Mansion

Gatsby’s mansion may be the place where most of the action starts. It's the symbol of his wealth and his hard efforts to become rich or to be “worthy” – worthy of Daisy, and worth the people she surrounds herself with. Gatsby bought this mansion understanding that the love of his life lives nearby:

Chapter 4 “He had waited five years and bought a mansion where that he dispensed starlight to casual moths in order that he could "come over" some afternoon to a stranger's garden”

The mansion is marvelous and beautiful, however it is not a property where Jay Gatsby feels most happy. Thus, additionally, it resembles most of the characters in the book – they've been pretty on the exterior, but that doesn’t cause them to become good people. Many of Gatsby’s guests know his mansion, but don’t even know what its owner looks like.

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