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Jay Gatsby as the Magician in The Great Gatsby
Magicians are known for the tricks that they play on the eyes. What often seems like magic, turns out to be just a careful flick of the wrist. In the book The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzerald, the magician is compared to the character of Jay Gatsby. The magician motif is used among other tools to prove that appearance is not always reality. The higher class throws sophisticated and glamorous parties that include many interesting people. They have fun and show off their fortunes with the grand affairs. Jay Gatsby is described as a rich, powerful man, and mysterious man, but all his fortune is made for a simple cause, the love of the beautiful Daisy Fay Buchanan. He is compared to a magician because he gives an appearance of being in a higher class than he really belongs to. Gatsby strives to appear to be high class, but reality ends up hurting him hard in the end. Gatsby's money was not earned legally or inherited as a fortune from his great uncle, but was made through illegal schemes. Gatsby's goal is to try to seem to be in a higher social class than the class where his birthright put him. He creates the illusion of a higher stature. He does not care about the money or any other material wealth. He cares about the love of a woman. Gatsby makes many illusions in hopes of showing his Daisy that he is in a class as high as hers and that they do belong together. What a magician does is deceive his audience. Jay Gatsby has to do that to make his audience believe that he belongs to a higher class than he was really born into.
The word "great" is often used to announce a magician. The title of the book is the introduction of the character of Jay Gatsby. He is the great magician that can create magic and fool all the spectators around him. Jay Gatsby throws wonderful parties to give the mirage of great wealth and high class. Only the most interesting people are invited. The thing is that he does not care for the people, but only of what they think of him. He does not show his own face, but gives the impression of someone really lavish by the parties and the guests.
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At the beginning of the book, Gatsby is seen as a high class, sophisticated man. As the story goes on, more details and lies of the great man are uncovered by the other characters in the book. It is discovered that Gatsby was not really an "Oxford Man" because he went to Oxford University for only five months. The reason that he went to Oxford was not because he wanted to receive a grand education and improvement of the mind to accompany his high class and stature. Instead he attended the school because the army gave him an opportunity for a free education.
Mysterious, like a magician, no one knows much about the host of the parties. Wild rumors spread about Gatsby because someone rarely comes along who has ever met the man. He is the great magician that is there looking over everyone and knowing who everyone is, but not making himself known to the public. Like as if behind a cape or a cloud of smoke, Gatsby disappears like a magician from Nick's sight one night. He stands there majestic on his high white balcony reaching for the stars, for the light. Staring at the stars and dark blue sky, like the coat of a great wizard, becoming lost in the great vastness of the sky, he vanishes. He is there one minute and gone the next. Gatsby disappears again when Daisy comes to visit Nick, by Gatsby's request. Like magic, he reappears at the door again a few seconds later at the entrance. In one swift movement he was out of the house and then back at the front door again. As if a magician chained in a tank full of water, Gatsby gets himself out of the unfavorable circumstances with a quick move. In a second he is out onto the stage again when ready to confront his audience.
James Gatz was a simple boy that was fortunate enough to get into the graces of a rich man. When given the opportunity of taking his life to higher standards, James Gatz gave himself a new name, a new life, a new future. James Gatz became the man now known as Jay Gatsby. From his protégé, Dan Cody, he got himself some sort of education. From that point on Jay was no longer the penniless boy. He was so poor to the extent that he could not take off his army uniform. Jay did not have the money to afford any civilian clothes. Gatsby had no choice but to become involved in some illegal business dealings to earn enough money to move up the ladder. When Tom gives away the secret of Gatsby's business to Daisy, he gives away the glory of the "great" Gatsby. Gatsby kills his image when he starts his business of bootlegging. He brought himself to life like a conjurer who makes doves come out nowhere. When the secret comes out, Gatsby looses all the standing that he has earned in the last five years.
Throughout the book, Jay Gatsby is compared to a magician. Every move that a magician makes is a form of deceit. He makes things appear and disappear. He can be there one minute and be gone the next. Jay Gatsby creates the illusion of being in the high social class when he is really in another. He spends over five years of his life to make people think that he belongs to a higher class. Gatsby attempts to conceal the ways that he achieves success. He masks the sources of his money to make sure that the deception goes through. Jay Gatsby, like a magician, uses deception to make his dream come true. He appears to be a man of high class, but all it is- is an illusion.
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