failing like never before

9Jul/082

Infinite Green Hope

Hmmm... I found another essay I wrote on The Great Gatsby. I think this is the "second edition" of the previous one that I wrote.

Jay Gatsby, of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, epitomizes one of the central themes of the novel; the prospect of infinite hope and its death. Hope is the cornerstone of the American Dream, and it has become corrupted by foul, immoral deeds. Men who made a fortune in industries, bootlegging, and in the stock market, during the 20s jazz era quickly turned to live the flamboyant, decadent lifestyle they so desired. Fitzgerald describes the downfall of hope and the American Dream by emphasizing the immoral nature of Gatsby and the rich so that future generations might be warned of the dreadful end that arises from corrupted dreams.

It is not merely the dream itself that is tainted, but also the process in which the goal was attained, as can be seen through Gatsby’s rise to wealth. He cared not for the path he took, for his goal was merely to be rich, so that Daisy would marry him. Because of this, Gatsby took to bootlegging and other criminal affairs, “his previously varied aspirations…are sacrificed for…single-minded obsession with Daisy's green light at the end of her dock” (Theme Analysis). The green light represented to Gatsby, the “orgastic future” (Fitzgerald 180), where everything was good. In his search for the past in the future, Gatsby corrupted his dream and his hopes with subtle crimes and bootlegging, and the green light became merely a light as he died.

The “unrestrained desire [of the rich] for money and pleasure surpassed more noble goals” (Themes Motifs & Symbols) throughout the 1920s as they found their dreams turning to ashes in their mouths. The weekly parties which Gatsby hosted were a prime example of this. Men and women, like Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda who lived “an extravagant life as young celebrities” (Bruccoli), partied without any regard to the future and soon, their decadent lifestyle extinguished itself. Their dreams of a wealthy lifestyle were by no means immoral, but when their desire for pleasure consumed them, the American Dream that lived in the newly wealthy began to decay. It had become tainted with debaucheries and ignoble deeds and soon, the hope of a purposeful life began to fade into their obscenities.

Fitzgerald’s warning to future generations to beware of allowing dreams and hopes to become corrupted with obscenities is shown in the death of Gatsby. “When his dream crumbles, all that is left for Gatsby to do is to die” (Themes Motifs & Symbols). Nick Carraway describes our pursuit of dreams as running “faster, stretch out our arms farther….And one fine morning-” (Fitzgerald 180). When our dreams begin to crumble, we stretch out further and further in desperation, and we fail. We fail because we have allowed our ideals to become based in obscenities, and when we find that false goal, we may not be able to bear it. Gatsby found it unfathomable that Daisy did not love him exclusively. His dream had failed, and he had nowhere else to go, the only left that Gatsby could, was to die. Wilson’s murder was unnecessary; for Gatsby was already beginning his descent into death.

Gatsby was the “ultimate American Idealist” (Theme Analysis) and for a while, his dreams drove him to new heights, yet ultimately, his desire for Daisy corrupted his ideals. Nick Carraway describes Gatsby as possessing a “romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person” (Fitzgerald 2). Yet Daisy was one of those people who “live their lives without thinking about it” (Theme Discussion). She toyed with Gatsby’s emotions, unintentionally later killing him and proved her lack of morals by not even attending his funeral. Gatsby ran faster and faster after Daisy, stretching his arms until he caught her. When he did, it was to find that he was not her one true love, and that his dream was so pure.

Fitzgerald’s central theme of the novel could be thought of as the death of the American Dream, yet The Great Gatsby has now extended beyond America in numerous translations and it would be better to refer to the novel in more worldly views; the death of infinite hope when it becomes corrupted. Hope that becomes corrupted becomes our downfall. Whether we corrupt it through our journey, or our intentions themselves are impure, a lack of morals will kill our hope. Fitzgerald himself knew this fact firsthand, for he and his wife Zelda were the dashing young men and women of Gatsby’s parties. Just like the women who threw herself in the fountain, Zelda became the life of the party by leading the crowd into fantastic new acts. Thus, the wild senseless abandon with which the two led their life caused Fitzgerald to understand that he had corrupted his ultimate dream. In writing The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald seeks not only to reveal a moral value, but also to confess his carnal sin. The hope which so filled his life before, became filled with darkness and soon perished.

Works Cited
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004.

Bruccoli, Matthew J. “A Brief Life of Fitzgerald” 1994. Ed. Mathew J. Bruccoli and Judith S. Baughman. University of South Carolina. 4 Dec. 2003. Board of
Trustees of the University of South Carolina. 15 March 2006 http://www.sc.edu/fitzgerald/biogr aphy.html

“Theme Analysis.” Novelguide.com. 22 Jan. 2006. 15 March 2006.
http://www.novelguide.com/thegreatgatsby/themeanalysis.html

“Theme Discussion” Homework-online.com. 16 March 2006. 16 March 2006.
http://www.homework-online.com/tgg/theme.asp

“Themes Motifs & Symbols.” Sparknotes.com. 21 Feb. 2006. 15 March 2006.
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/gatsby/themes.html

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Good thoughts and well-written.

  2. fantastic issues altogether, you simply won a logo new reader.

    What could you recommend about your put up that you just made a
    few days ago? Any positive?


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