Great Gatsby And Morality


Great Gatsby And Morality Essay, Research Paper

After the events of this story have unfolded, the narrator Nick, focuses on the

man most like himself; Gatsby. Both Nick Carraway and Jay Gatz hail from the

mid-west, where morals and the right way of getting ahead are instilled into

them. They travel to New York, where the morals are paper-thin and everything

seems turned upside down. The saps with morals stay in the ashheaps while the

careless, foolhardy upper society do what they please. Nick stays true to the

mid-west morals of an earnest, hardworking living while Gatsby tries to be just

like the others on East Egg. Nick says this of him, ?Gatsby believed in the

green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded

us then, but that?s no matter-tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our

arms further…..And one fine morning-? (189). A central theme of the novel I

think, is the idea that people aren?t satisfied with what they have, they are

always going further and further, never knowing when to stop, and always

striving for that bright star that ?seemed so close that he could hardly fail

to grasp it.? (189). To Gatsby the green light symbolizes Daisy, Daisy in a

way represents her peers in the same social strata as her. Daisy is a fool,

living vicariously and so are the characters in this book. The green light

represents the wild and recklessness of the times. These were times when women

for the first time were drinking and smoking alongside the guys, their war was

over and so were their troubles. The green light for them means go, after most

wars the economy experiences a boom, this was no different. They are cocksure,

thinking that whatever they do is right, and they always push on. They don?t

care what happens to others as long as they remain untouched and unrivaled. This

selfishness is shown in nearly all characters except Nick, who accepts his life

and is satisfied. He works hard and scrapes by, but he is living the life he

wants, ?I am one of the few honest men that I have ever known.?(64). He?s

sensible and thinks out his actions. He doesn?t have the green gleam in his

eye that everyone else seems to have. He is an observer to the situation, and

when he talks of Gatsby believing in the Green Light, he sums up Gatsby?s

philosophy and possibly what was written in the back of his most recent edition

of ?Hopalong Cassidy?; the way to live his life dedicated to Daisy. His

whole life was devoted to re-wooing Daisy and finally have that ?one fine

morning? when she would be his completely. I do not think that he knew when to

stop. Once Gatsby achieves his dreams and Daisy is now seeing him on a regular

basis, he doesn?t know what to do. This whole time he wanted her so much and

he couldn?t get her, he was dreaming. Dreaming that the green light would

shine on him, and once it did, he couldn?t help but go further, stretch his

arms just a little further, and ask Daisy to leave her husband. On page 139 in

the hotel scene Daisy says to Jay, ?Oh, you want to much! I love you

know—isn?t that enough?? But for Gatsby it isn?t enough, he wants more

and more and really it is this dream of ?one fine morning? that is the

reason he is killed. He lives his life as a dream. He accomplishes the

?American Dream? by coming from nothing and getting everything but all his

profit go to Daisy, she is his dream all along, and it is from this situation

that in the end he is killed, caught in the tangled web of the Buchanans

marriage. Tom is a good example of not knowing when to stop. He was born into

wealth and went to a prominent college. His life is set up, he has wealth, a

beautiful wife, a child, a lavish lifestyle, and no worries. His decision to

have extra-marital affairs is a key example of ?stretching his arms?, and

indulging himself to the point of fallout. This is common among his peers, the

rich New York crowd. Gatsby follows Daisy from the time he arrives back until

the day he actually has his dreams come true and he meets her. She is symbolized

by the green light at the end of her dock. To me, this green light is

representative of not only Daisy, but of all the other people in her social

class who love the color green as well, and happen to live on the East Egg. I

say they love the color green because all they are interested in is money. Money

is an important factor in this novel. When Gatsby flaunts his money around he

gets people?s attention. When he dies and can no longer shine his green light,

the attention dies too. The New York society is very materialistic, and Gatsby

has everything someone in a material world could want; a huge house, servants,

lots of cars, fame, and extra money to throw around to parties and houseguests.

He has everything except personal satisfaction. He knows that Daisy is the

answer, and she is represented in the light. In a way, the far-off green light

represents all that is unobtainable to Gatsby. It is his pipe dream. He has

already conquered a material world, and all that drives him in this novel has to

do with him gaining the green light and having Daisy shine from his dock. I

think Daisy can easily be compared to her peers; the kind of people that attend

Gatsby?s parties. They are driven by ?green?. They love money and are

attracted to anyone that has it and is willing to spend it. This can be seen on

page 50 when Nick stumbles into the library where Owl Eyes is admiring

Gatsby?s books, ?It?s a bona fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me.

This fella?s a regular Belasco.? He doesn?t even know the man, ?I was

brought by a woman named Roosevelt. I?ve been drunk for about a week now.?

(50) He doesn?t know Gatsby, but he likes him none the less based on his

shallow values. Owl Eyes is a common man in this society and his words give us

insight to these people. They don?t care who?s house they party at, they are

wild, unbridled, and reckless people who are living their lives for fun. This is

how Gatsby had it planned. He hopes from the very first party that Daisy would

be one of the people stumbling to his front door, she would see him, fall in

love again, and she would be his in every sense, just like it should have

happened. In a sense he?s trying to bring the glow of the East Egg over to the

West. It is not only Daisy who has this green light, most all the people that

live on East Egg do as well. They go-go-go, and never look back. They?re going

too fast, there is no way that this can last; hence the number of wrecks and

collisions in this book. When Owl Eyes crashes his car, they ask him how it

happened, ?Don?t ask me, I know very little about driving-next to

nothing,? (59) is how he replies. They don?t ever realize that they could

learn from their actions. They do something, it happens, and they say, ?At

first I din? notice we?d stopped.? (60) Then they gear up and go-go-go

some more. Its very easy for these people to put the blame somewhere else, and

if they can?t think of a reason this doesn?t seem to bother them. Daisy

kills a lady, sees her lover killed, and then takes a vacation to reset and we

can only assume that it will continue. Daisy?s light will continue to shine,

constantly interrupting the lives of the people she comes across. Daisy in is a

situation that is comfortable for her. She has security, a family, and no real

worries. It is her way of being a ?beautiful little fool? (21) that allows

her this freedom. Tom goes out with other women, abuses Daisy, and she doesn?t

do a thing about it. Daisy has her green light shining, and it is accomplished

by being a fool. She doesn?t seem to register that this is an unhealthy

marriage, all she lives for is her easy, lethargic way of life. When things get

rough, all she has to do is hide in the shadow of her ?great big hulking

specimen? (16) of a husband, Tom. When Daisy hits Myrtle she runs back to Tom

and everything straightens itself out, and even when they were in Chicago we

were made to believe that something of this sort might have happened before when

Daisy says to Tom, ?You?re revolting, do you know why we left Chicago? I?m

suprised they didn?t treat you to the story of that little spree.? (139) It

seems Daisy?s light will always be shining, drawing people into the tangled

marriage of her and Tom. Gatsby in some way knows Daisy is materialistic. He

tells Nick, ?Her voice is full of money.? Nick agrees and writes, ?It was

full of money-that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the

jingle of it, the cymbals? song of it…High in a white palace the king?s

daughter, the golden girl..?(127) He has worked to where he?s at just so he

could show Daisy how much money he has and it helps him a lot. Daisy, after

touring the mansion starts to cry, ?It makes me sad because I?ve never seen

such-such beautiful shirts before.? (98) He has finally shown her what he has

and what he can give her, and Daisy decides that she will make her move in the

chess game that her and her husband seem to be playing by having an affair as

well. It seems to me that in some sense that to the Buchanans Gatsby and Myrtle

are mere playthings, there for their personal entertainment. I?m sure that the

green light did not shine only for Gatsby, Myrtle was no doubt caught by this

beacon in Tom. To Myrtle Tom glows, he stinks of the fact that she hopes Tom

will be her knight in shining armor. Myrtle hopes to marry Tom, and she?s sure

that he would, except, ?(Daisy?s) a Catholic and they don?t believe in

divorce.? (38). All Tom wants is to live vicariously, he cares practically

nothing about Myrtle when compared to the way she feels about him. To her he?s

the answer and not even abuse will drive her away. Myrtle, in search of her

?one fine morning? finds only death, resembling Gatsby. She is mesmerized by

Tom?s empty promises, similar to Daisy and Jay?s relationship. Gatsby is

hypnotized by Daisy?s light as well. He hadn?t seen or talked to Daisy since

the day he left Louisville. All he has is the idea of Daisy. This idea that he

has that she is the most perfect, best woman in the world is somehow pinnacled

in the green light. On page 25, ?he stretched out his arms toward the dark

water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was

trembling.? Gatsby is entranced by this green light because it symbolizes

Daisy. All he has is knowing that she is over there somewhere because the light

at the end of her dock is shining. He doesn?t know her situation, if she?s

still the same person he fell in love with, or even if she would talk to him.

The only thing he knows is that she?s there and he still loves her. Gatsby and

Myrtle both try to break into the closed, old-money society of the East Egg.

They don?t realize that some dreams, no-matter how you try, come true. America

was based on the dream that anything can come true and Gatsby swallows this idea

whole. In the end he went to far and it meant his demise.

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