Sheik of Araby in the Great Gatsby Essay example

Sheik of Araby in the Great Gatsby Essay example

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The presence of the popular 1920’s song “The Sheik of Araby” in The Great Gatsby is a sign that represents a wide range of cultural instances and relational symbols throughout the novel. The sign in the novel, a portion of the song called “The Sheik of Araby”, is sung by a group of little girls in Central Park, a song about a rich man who covets beautiful women and attracts them from all races, and who claims that he is basically the embodiment of love and knows what love is all about. Nick and Jordan pass the children after their date at the Plaza Hotel. Jordan has just told Nick about the first time she witnessed Daisy and Jay Gatsby together. Jordan describes a scene of Daisy and Gatsby together at Daisy’s home in Louisiana, and later, of the night before Daisy and Tom’s wedding day. Then, Jordan tells Nick that about six weeks prior to their date, Jordan had mentioned Gatsby haphazardly to Daisy and she had a very strange tone of voice when she responded that it must have been the Gatsby she had met in her youth. After Jordan describes this memory to Nick, the little girls singing the song are heard; “I’m the Sheik of Araby, Your love belongs to me, At night when you’re asleep, Into your tent I’ll creep-”. Nick remarks that it is a strange coincidence that Gatsby ended up living so close to Daisy. Jordan explains that it was, of course, intentional, and Nick seems astounded that he did not realize this before. “He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor.” (Fitzgerald 83). Nick proceeds to realize the enormity and modesty of Jay Gatsby’s grand intention- the intention of winning the love of Daisy Buchanan.
The setting and placement of the sign in the novel seems to suggest a cultura...


... middle of paper ...


...purity and frivolity represent how adults in the novel committed to mature acts with childish motives behind them. The contrast between Tom and Gatsby’s personas and meanings behind the same action reinforce the idea of subjective innocence relative to the situation, though the actions may be virtually the same. The moral and attitude differences between the new and old rich embody the real sense of perverted innocence related to the decline in morality of the 1920s. Fitzgerald’s belief in the irony of innocence and purity during the time period exemplifies itself in the presentation and interpretation of “The Sheik of Araby” in The Great Gatsby.


Works Cited
1. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1995.
2. Wikipedia. Sheik of Araby- Wikipedia. 31 July 2008. 20 September 2008 .

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