preview

Deceiving Appearances in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

Better Essays
Deceiving Appearances in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

In 1808, Sir Walter Scott penned, "O, what a tangled web we weave/When

first we practise to deceive!" (Marmion 6.17) In life, people often

lie and use people in order to preserve an ideal self-image or to get

what they want. However, there are often serious repercussions for

those who lie and for those around them. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's

novel, The Great Gatsby, this theme that deception and

self-centeredness has consequences is clearly illustrated. Through the

eyes of the narrator, Nick Carraway, the reader saw that the wealthy

characters in this novel lived in a superficial society surrounded by

their own lies and deception. Many of the residents of East and West

Egg used one another in order to get what they wanted, with little

care as to how it would affect the people around them, and perhaps,

even themselves. To others, their lives seemed perfect; they had

everything that money could buy. This image, however, was proven to be

no more than a façade. Deceit almost always leads to unhappiness as

Daisy, Tom and Gatsby himself illustrated in the course of the novel;

they deceived one another and used those around them in order to get

what they wanted. But this had grave consequences for each of them.

Daisy Buchanan was portrayed as being sophisticated and refined, but

in the course of the novel, she was revealed to be anything but

someone possessing these admirable qualities. Nick revealed that Daisy

did not need her husband, Tom, in the same way that he needed her. She

needed Tom not for love, but for his family history of old money. This

dependency helped Daisy remain ...

... middle of paper ...

...he narrator of The Great Gatsby, who exposed the extent to which the

characters would go to achieve this sense of security and illusive

happiness. Tom and Daisy never attained happiness in the course of the

novel. Their strong reputation was ruined and they were forced to

leave New York. But the consequences of Gatsby's lies were much more

serious - irreparable, in fact. His deception resulted in his death;

his fate was sealed. And so, as the final page of The Great Gatsby is

read, we, the readers, are left with a valuable message from

Fitzgerald - that our approach to life can greatly interfere with the

pursuit of happiness.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Macmillan Publishing

Company,

1925.

The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott. London: Oxford University

Press, 1931.
Get Access