Free Great Gatsby Essays: Social Relationships

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Social Relationships in The Great Gatsby

Novelists are often concerned with exploring the confusions and complexities of social relationships. In the context, confusions refer to puzzling relationships, which are confusing to comprehend. Whereas, complexities relate to complicated and intricate issues. The different social relationships discussed in F.Scott Fitzgerald's novel, THE GREAT GASTBY, are business colleagues, lovers and married partners. The characters involved in these relationships consist of, Jay Gatsby, Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Myrtle and George Wilson, Jordan Baker, Mr. Wolshiem and Nick Carraway. Each character interacts with others, establishing either confusions or complexities within their social relationship.

A complex social relationship explored in this novel is between Wolshiem and Gatsby. The two are business colleagues who work together, however the nature of their business is rarely discussed. During lunch between Gatsby, Wolshiem and Nick, Wolshiem mistakes Nick's reason of invitation, which Gatsby quickly states, 'I told you we'd talk about that some other time.' (p69) This suggests to the audience that their business is not above board, as Gatsby does not wish to discuss their business dealing in front of company. Throughout the novel, their business relationship is kept very vague. On the surface it appears to be a normal business relationship, however due to the uncertainty of their dealings, it is established to the audience that there is a complex relationship existing between the two characters. Thus showing how complexities can be explores through the social relationship of business colleagues.

Another example of a social relationship explored in the novel, containing complexities, is between Wolshiem and Gatsby from Wolshiem's point of view. In the final chapter, Wolshiem sends Nick a letter in regards to Gatsby's death. He states that he is, '...tied up in... very important business... cannot get mixed up in this thing now.' (p157)

This reinforces that their relationship was strictly business and there was not a very strong friendship existing between the two characters. It appears that Wolshiem has very little respect for Gatsby, as he doesn't have the courtesy to attend his funeral. It is portrayed that all Gatsby was to Wolshiem was a business colleague, nothing more. Wolshiem doe not want to further their relationship as friends. Within the letter, Wolshiem refers to Gatsby as a 'thing.' This represents Gatsby's death as an inconvenience on Wolshiem's behalf. As Wolshiem was involved in some 'very important business,' this once again reinforces the idea that their business relationship was below board.
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