The Great Gatsby

Presented by: Thomas Gazda

-Reality and Illusions-

Through Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the reader experiences world where nothing is as it seems and everything and everyone has two faces. The New York high society life that Fitzgerald depicts is flashy, showy, gossipy, and, despite all the claims of sophistication and intimacy, fake. Gatsby himself exhibits a quality of illusion; throwing parties and creating a carnival air in hopes to attract his real desire - Daisy. Fitzgerald explores how illusions can become reality as he develops the story of Gatsby's impoverished past his eventual rise to fame. The illusions young Gatsby created around himself solidified around him and became a reality of wealth even as his final, illusionary goal eludes him. To the reader, Gatsby may seem initially as showy as the rest of the characters but Fitzgerald turns him into a martyr for love; quantifying Gatsby's love as something more than just a passing desire. However, just as Gatsby's illusions turned into reality, many of the readers realities were quickly revealed as illusions as the plot thickened and many characters revealed their innate flaws. From the brash brute of a man Tom to the impoverished Wilson, the wealthy were nothing more than actors hiding behind the stage make-up of their wealth. The "reality" remains that, for the rich and poor alike, reality was not exactly what it seemed.

Chapter One

Report on the Qualities of: Nick Carraway

The man in question has been known to exhibit the following qualities:

Priding himself in being non-judgmental, Mr. Carraway proclaims that he will not make judgment on others regardless of faults. As a result, he presents himself as withdrawn and non-commenting on many issues even if they directly relate to him. Unable, by his own moral standards, to criticize others Mr. Carraway finds himself in awkward situations, like dinner parties, where he is unable to keep up with the gossipy nature of the conversation. Mr. Carraway also shows that he is easily rendered speechless; especially in the presence of women he encounters in the Buchanan household. As a result of this, it can be concluded that Mr. Carraway is less than capable of adapting quickly to situations where he finds himself to be flustered; option instead to remain silent. Mr. Carraway outwardly portrays a middle income stock broker that passes for well off and mingles with the wealthy while, in reality, he knows the rich only through relation and, if not for blood, would have no place in the wealth of East Egg. Physically, Mr. Carraway lives in a small shack of a house that more accurately reflects his socio-economic standing than his relationships with others seen so far. In reality, Mr. Carraway can be seen working hard daily and takes to his work very seriously and studiously despite the fact that the company he keeps has neither desire nor need to work at all. In fact, those Mr. Carraway's acquaintances actively seek out ways to escape boredom without having to work and hold no similarities to Mr. Carraway's hard-working nature.

Index One

I chose to write about Nick in a formal, historian style writing to analyze his personality so far in the book. From Chapter One, Nick is seen as a wallflower who carries the illusion of high society but in reality is a hard working, middle class New York man. He lives among those who live life as an illusion, who are cynical about everything or think the world is falling apart around them and, at the same time, it is clear that he isn't really a part of that world. Nick is firmly rooted in the West, firmly rooted in his conviction to not judge anyone and firmly rooted in the fact that he has to work hard and study hard to make his way in New York unlike those he associates with.

Chapter Two

Town Tattle

...The next BIG story we have for you reader today is being whispered about on the streets today even as we're writing this! Rumor has it that there is an unnamed millionaire who has taken to visiting the Valley of Ashes! Now, why might such a wealthy man be seen driving to and stopping in such a poor part of town? Perhaps he is involved in a crime ring? A secret plot to buy up land? or maybe even a secret lover? Eye witnesses have seen a man, only described as "hulking" skulking about in the Valley. This can only mean shady business! Who else could possibly be in on this? Ladies check your floors for dust and your men for ash because this one is up to no good! Who knows how many are involved in whatever shady business is going down in the Valley and we at the Town Tattle suspect that it's going to get big soon! Double check over your shoulder when going through the Valley of Ashes because before you know it, you yourself might get caught up in the racket of whatever is going on. "But", you might ask,"what if it's just some millionaire looking for a lover?"Then we say that we will not sleep until we have the full story for you to read and talk about at the liveliest of parties. It'll be the talk of the town! If you have any information about this mysterious man's identity, please let us know and we can investigate the story even further. Dedication to the hottest, newest news is what we do best and soon the story of the mysterious millionaire will be the talk of the town. If he's some crime lord or just out for a jaunt, the true, most intriguing story will be revealed.

Index Two

I chose to write about how others might see the way Tom is constantly going into the Valley of Ashes to meet his lover, Myrtle and the appearances that is gives. The nature of a rumor article is that it is speculative and, as a result, I could create and illusion that he might be some shady figure there for a black market deal and at the same time obscure his identity to further hide the reality. Tom is a man who outwardly appears like a millionaire with his perfect life, wife, and home but in reality he goes out slumming and allows the reality that he could have so easily fall into neglect. This article ties into the theme of illusion through tying in the illusion of Tom's happy life to the possibility of adultery, shady activity, and other mysterious actions.

Chapter Three

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Greetings from: Gatsby's Mansion.

To: Daisy Buchanan

From: Nick Carraway

Dear Daisy,

I just had the most invigorating experience over at my neighbors house in one of his weekly parties. You wouldn't believe how crazy the parties get: people from all over show up, there is a huge amount of food and drink, the music is wild, and the people are wilder. There is a festive air about the place with lights, music, and an almost festival like freedom to it. I did feel a bit lost in all of it but regardless the whole affair was an experience to be had and you'll never guess who I met there; our friend Jordan Baker. Yet, the whole thing seemed like a very impersonal affair with people just showing up and leaving willy nilly and nobody really knowing who was even throwing the party. Sure we all know it was Gatsby, but who knew who Gatsby was? I received a personal invitation and I didn't even know his face until I met him completely by chance halfway through the party. Perhaps to was like Jordan had said and the colossal nature of things made the whole thing such an impersonal, such a private thing that I couldn't help but feel a bit lost. However, it certainly had quite a few characters at it that have very public lives: singers, rumormongers, and public stars all showed up without invitation and made their presence known. The whole thing was a bit of a haze for me beyond the point where I surrendered Jordan to the host and I fear this may have been on of the few times I have been on the wrong side of sober. All-in-all it was a wonderful departure from my everyday life and I feel I might come back some other weekend, perhaps with you.

Regards,

Nick Carraway.

Index Three

Nick's post card to Daisy is used to describe his experience at Gatsby's as a sort of gossipy, showy affair and to establish that it is separate from the world he usually lives in. I pointed out that Nick felt there was something off about the way people simply showed up without even knowing the host the creation of an illusion of popularity. Many didn't even believe that Gatsby himself was real and this obscurity created an air of mystery around the man know as Gatsby. The large party creates the illusion of social interaction however, in reality, Nick finds himself lost in a sea of faces and escapes into the isolation of inebriation. Nothing about Gatsby's parties are clear and the true nature behind them isn't revealed to any of the party goers at any point in the chapter. They are simply caught up in the "Roaring Twenties" and persuade themselves that the party is for them to enjoy as a right.

Chapter Four

A Letter

Sweetest Daisy,

I'm afraid I've gone and gotten myself caught up in a war too big for me to get out of just yet. I've spent these last few months between trenches and trucks and I suppose it's just my luck that the one time I find someone perfect in my life, I lose her. Whenever the boys find themselves a good-ol-time I find myself thinking of you. I have kept myself going through the hell of this war with only your memory to spur me on and hope in my heart that I will return to you soon. Nothing in this half of the world or the next can possibly compare to the beauty you hold. I have no desire but to come home to you once again, to dress myself in the finest clothes, to make a world for just the two of us.

I want nothing more but to love you more than the sun and stars and all the money in the world couldn't stand between us. I want to walk you through the garden of Louisville again and go back to that summer where we were the only two people in the world and I could love you with all my being. The memory of you, of those times, that is was I want for us. Know that I will fight my hardest to return to you dear and I won't stop for the world to get to you. I will love you for the rest of my life and beyond and nothing can change that. You are my world and I hope that when I return we may make our own place in the world together.

you're always in my heart,

Jay Gatsby

Index Four

I chose to write my in-class letter about the illusion that Gatsby has about his relationship with Daisy and how he still believes that his love is reciprocated and that,when he returns, he can pick up where he left off. However, in reality Daisy moved on and the relationship, for her, died off for the next five years until the suddenly wealthy Jay Gatsby moves across the bay.Gatsby becomes so enraptured in his illusions that he is willing to go to great expense with his parties simply on the off chance that Daisy, his lost love, would wander in and he could rekindle the spark of romanticism between them. Gatsby becomes a man defined by a single-minded desire for Daisy and, through Nick's exposition, we know that the true hope for Gatsby's dream relationship had died the minute he went off to war. Reality how holds that Daisy is married to another man, has a child, and cannot go back to the perfect innocence of their past romanticism. Even if Daisy goes back to Gatsby, it can never be the same again.

Chapter Five

How to make: An Affair

1 Lost-lost lover

1 invitation to tea

1 letter from a soldier

2 1/2 Spouses

1/2 a Cup of Boredom

1 Cup of Anxiety

3 Months of Romance

1 Meeting Place


First you have to set a base mixture with three months of three months of romance. This is best found aged if possible to ensure maximum bitterness when discovered. Make sure to add in one letter from a soldier to ensure that the mixture will develop into hope over time and create a foundation for future meetings. Next, add two-and-a-half spouses and a half-a-cup off boredom to set the stage. The adultery in the other half-a-spouse will help to grow the adultery and the boredom assures for a rich note of excitement to the romance. Then, add 1 invitation to tea to bring all the flavors together and, with the anxiety, the base is done. Simply cook in a meeting place such as a mansion to have a fully formed adultery.


Serves: Two

Prep Time: Five Years

Index Five

Gatsby held on to the dream of being with Daisy for so long that it eventually became his reality and, even though it couldn't last, he finally had the girl he's always wanted. Daisy is begins to realize that the world she lives in, her reality, isn't the one she really wants and that when she married Tom, she married the wrong man. The adultery being "cooked" here makes a dream into a reality for one of them and shatters the reality of the other. The very idea that these two "star-crossed lovers" would be able to stay together is in and of itself an illusion with Daisy being "trapped" in the high-society life that she chose for herself. The past becomes reality and eventually, reality is doomed to crumble into an illusion as Daisy goes back to her life on East Egg. When the adultery is discovered, everything that Gatsby lives for will be over, his own reality shattered.

Chapter Six

Resume for: Jay Gatsby

Formerly known as James Gatz, Jay Gatsby is a millionaire applying for the position of:

Daisy's lover.

He hopes to find happiness in his love and to create a world where they can live together. He is perfect for this job because he loves her deeply, has experience in loving her, and is a dedicated, hardworking man.

Gatsby stands out from the completion through his determination to make a world where he and her can live together and his admirable ability to create a reality for himself that the world will accept.

Gatsby has created identities in the past and is willing to do anything to acquire this position for himself.

Jay Gatsby has worked in the positions of: Poor farm boy, sailor, soldier, officer, summer lover, shady bootlegger, gentleman, and millionaire party host. He has worked all of these positions to the utmost of his ability and will continue to work towards the prestigious position of Daisy's lover.

His experience with Dan Cody has given Gatsby the skills to be a gentleman and to know the ways of high society. Here he served the position of sailor and student.

With Meyer Wolfsheim and his position as shady bootlegger, Gatsby learned to do whatever it takes to make money and be able to provide for Daisy. He shows a ruthlessness and proves he is able to make hard decisions in life.

Index Six

The very idea of Jay Gatsby exists as something that was once an illusion and not manifests itself as reality. James Gatz, a man tired of poverty, decided to take his dreams of grandeur, create a new identity, and strike out into the world; eventually making the illusion of wealth he displayed at Daisy's house as an officer a reality when he gained all his wealth. However, even thought he presents himself as a gentleman, his sudden wealth and association with Wolfsheim, a known criminal, destroys the illusion that he is a legitimate man and shows the grimy reality beneath. However, his love for Daisy is not and never has been an illusion and from the minute that Gatsby fell in love with her, it began to destroy him even as he was busy turning his illusion into reality.Gatsby exhibits many of the qualities of a true gentleman but begs the question, who is the real Jay Gatsby?

Chapter Seven

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Item in a store: Lime Sorbet

The relationship between Gatsby and Daisy is like a Sorbet; a sweet treat that cannot stand up to pressure. The heat of tension that is shown in the "The Great Gatsby" melted away the relationship as easily as it would a sorbet. Though Gatsby was willing to endure anything to be with Daisy, the basis they stood on was fragile; no lasting connection existed between them. Sweet, short, and temporary. Daisy is incapable of enduring any pressure and will always fall back on the easiest possible escape.

Index Seven

I chose to represent the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy with a sorbet to show it's true nature. Even though Gatsby convinced himself that his love was strong enough to endure everything, it melted away - Nothing more than an illusion. The reality was that Daisy was willing to leave him as nothing more than a fling and go back to the security of her old life. A desert is sweet but it cannot nurture, it cannot sustain. Daisy was willing to destroy the relationship between her and Gatsby for the sake of security with Tom. She is unable to take risks, unable to step away from the security of her life. Any "fling" she goes on will be nothing more than just an illusion. The concept of Daisy and Gatsby having a lasting relationship falls apart too quickly and cannot be reality.

Chapter Eight

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Arrest Warrant: George Wilson

WARNING: The aforementioned man is extremely dangerous and must be handled with extreme caution. DO NOT approach recklessly.

George B. Wilson has been seen wandering the Valley of Ashes and is wanted for questioning about the assault on the Buchanan household. The suspect is deep in despair and considered a threat to the well-being to society. Poverty has destroyed this man's well being and he has suffered form illness recently. Be on the lookout. His wife has been killed recently and he may be suffering from a broken spirit. The suspect has exhibited a desire for escape before his wife's death and may be desperate. Consider him willing to go to any means to escape and do not attempt to approach without authorities.

Description: Anemic and ill. He has been noted to have a furtive air about him and may be armed. Proceed with caution.

Index Eight

When George's reality was broken, he became sickly and lost control over himself. The love that he thought his wife had for him turned out to be nothing more than an illusion and the discovery of her adultery broke him. Without his reality, he finds himself without any reason to live and sets out to kill the one that he feels killed his wife. However, even this aspect of his life is an illusion when he turns out to have killed the wrong man. George ends his own life when he feels at peace with his reality even though everything has gone wrong for him. The shattering for his illusions left him so broken that he was incapable of doing anything other than leaving thew world behind for good.

Chapter Nine

Monologue: Nick

It was the loss of everything he had built his world around him that led me to think that Gatsby had died his peaceful death. He sought a world where he could just be happy but, despite how hard he fought for it, it was an impossible reality for him. Gatsby was a man too innocent in his love. A man who, despite his means, sought only the joy of being about to hold Daisy in his arms and love her. To be able to support her, to be able to keep her safe. However, what he didn't know was that the world he had tried so desperately to get into was rotten through and that there was no place for him to stand in it. Full of his infinite hope, Gatsby mimicked that world of wealth and, for all his troubles, it tore him apart. I cannot hate Gatsby himself. He had a sort of undefinable charisma about him; an outlook on life that allowed him to be anything. And yet, Gatsby bound himself to a world that didn't deserve him, to a world that was so full of petty spite and selfishness that he couldn't possible hope to survive and for that, I can scorn him. The city I once saw as the land of infinite opportunity revealed it's true face; its merciless face. I cannot bring myself to stay in a world so tainted by the memories that I have made and the disdain I now have for those in them. I the city has been blackened to me now and it is an anathema to me. The curse of wealth lies here and those who bear it romp about destroying everything they touch in their careless play; seeing the city as nothing more than a toy to be chewed on and tossed away. It is also this careless destruction that drives me from this city. I cannot stay here. I cannot stay.

Index Nine

I wrote Nick's monologue in the narrative, voice-over style of righting that goes along so well with him. By the end of the book, Nick realizes that the city he had felt was so beautiful and full of limitless opportunity was really just the rich people's playground and this realization drives him from the city. He believed firmly in the reality that the world he lived in was not to be judged and yet, by the end, he feels almost condescending of Tom; calling him childlike and careless. The illusion of Gatsby's infinite hope is shattered for him when he realizes that the world never really cared about Gatsby; nobody but him really knew him at all. He lived in a harsh city that destroyed his dream as easily as paper. There was no place for Gatsby then and there's no place for Nick now.

Conclusion

Oh to Catch the World

Oh world sweet world how sweet you are

I find myself chasing your golden bounty

pushing farther bouncing higher just to

keep up with your stride always quickening

always just one step away.


Yet I find myself unable to keep pace

falling behind further each time

I stretch out my hand to touch you.

Oh how I wish I could just stretch out

and grasp you.


But the sight of your beauty pushes me on

through the times of lost hope

through the darkest of days and

through the toughest of times

I will keep chasing that light

Final Index

Throughout the novel we, as readers, see Gatsby in several different lights. He is the wealthy millionaire, the shady bootlegger, the star-crossed lover, the unknown man, and the hopeless romantic. Gatsby is chasing after a world where everything is perfect and he can love the girl of his dreams yet he never can quite catch it. When he finally does "catch" that dream, Gatsby soon realizes that it was never meant to last and he would never reach his golden world. However, he never gives up even when everything is lost and, in the hearts of many readers, would have kept fighting for Daisy even throughout the darkest of days and the toughest of times.