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Great Gatsby

Satisfactory Essays
Great Gatsby Through the interactions between male and female characters, Fitzgerald depicts a variety of social expectations regarding "typical" male behavior in the 1920's. In the novel The Great Gatsby, characters such as Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby, George Wilson and Nick Carraway demonstrate behavior that acts to maintain and live up to expectations inherent in society. Through their controlling ways, these characters strive to define the "typical" man in the 1920's. The notion that a man's success can be measured by his possessions becomes evident through the actions of Tom, Gatsby and Wilson. These characters strive to obtain more than just material possessions. For example, Tom seems to view the women in his life as mere possessions, a sign of his success and wealth. His attitude and interactions with Daisy, his wife, and Myrtle, his mistress, demonstrate this. Through out the story, Tom does not show respect or genuine caring for either woman. Rather, he commits open adultery with Myrtle. Tom makes this affair public because it is just another way of showing-off, another of his possessions and thus boosting his ego. Tom does this without regard for the shame his affairs may bring onto his wife. Daisy comes to represent a treasured and sought possession for both Tom and Gatsby. Although on the surface it appears that Gatsby has an ever-lasting love for Daisy, I feel that his longing for Daisy stems from his need to recapture a possession which he lost during his youth. Nick comments "He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy". Furthermore by possessing Daisy's love, Gatsby can reject defeat and feel successful as a man. In the novel, Gatsby goes as far as to view the green light as a symbolic way of holding onto his possession and keeping Daisy in some way close to him. After obtaining his dream of being reunited with Daisy, the green light begins to lose its symbolic strength. "Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one". Now that the realization of his dream has begun, Gatsby needs to feel a greater sense of possession or control over Daisy. He may feel the need to obtain another enchanted object to replace the loss of the symbolic meaning of the light. Now the only enchanted object which he is left to obtain is Daisy's complete and everlasting.
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