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The Great Gatsby: the Matter of Love
Francis Scott Fitzgerald is an outstanding American writer of the twentieth century who is probably most known for his novel about Gatsby a poor man who, similarly to Fitzgerald himself, became enormously rich, but failed to fit in the world of luxury. The Great Gatsby is also one of the most prominent works of the world literature, because along with the lifestyle of America of that period, it discusses eternal subjects, such as friendship and rivalry, euphoria and misery, love and loneliness, happiness and nostalgia. When analyzing Gatsbys behavior, one will probably conclude that the only reason he has become who he is, is the love of his life Daisy. Nevertheless, being a vital part of his life, Daisy epitomizes something different from what one generally refers to as love.
Daisy and Gatsbys relationships started when they were very young, and, as it often happens, they fell in love from the first sight and hoped to be together forever. Looking at them during that period, one can hardly deny that there is love between them, and who knows what their lives would be like if they belonged to the same social class. Actually, this love line is what attracts the readers attention most of all. This is especially obvious in film adaptations, for example, in the recent movie directed by Baz Luhrmann, who calls his work great, tragic love story with action, passion, drama (Baz Luhrmann Says the Great Gatsby is a Love Story. Is he right?). Really, it looks like everything Gatsby does in his life, is dedicated to Daisy, and maybe he believes in it himself, Gatsby reinvents his identity and fortunes all to win back the girl he loved from afar in his youth Daisy Buchanan (Stevens). Many people call Fitzgeralds work autobiographical, saying that the story is based on his own love towards Ginevra. As mentioned in Mail Online, Daisy was Fitzgeralds most successful attempt to capture his dream girl in words...which is why, for all its cynicism and bitterness, The Great Gatsby sweeps us away with its sense of overpowering, all-consuming romance (Stevens). Nevertheless, Fitzgerald himself once noted that it was never completely clear if Daisy was in love with Gatsby. The author said that little attention was dedicated to the emotional side of her and Gatsbys relationships after they met again, but the lack is so astutely covered by the retrospect of Gatsby past and by blankets of excellent prose that nobody has noticed (Baz Luhrmann Says the Great Gatsby is a Love Story. Is he right?).
Although at first glance it may seem that the main theme of the story is love, it embraces a much wider scope of themes and motifs. The first one to be mentioned is the decline of dreaming in America of that time. The reader has to bear in mind that Fitzgerald portrays the society after the World War I, when people were disillusioned and depressed. From this perspective, Daisy appears as Gatsbys attempt to become a part of the upper class to which he never belonged. At first, he convinces himself that Daisy is different from other rich people, and that she will leave her husband, and they will be happy again. On the other hand, however, Gatsby works extremely hard and even breaks the law, in order to create the environment Daisy is used to: a huge mansion, brand clothes, lavish parties and expensive cars. Still, no matter how hard he tries, Gatsby remains a different person. Therefore, Gatsbys dream to be with Daisy is ruined because of their social statuses. Still, he continues fighting for her love, for losing her means that he can never belong to the world of the rich and famous.
The true value of Daisy for Jay Gatsby might be found in the symbolism and imagery of the story. For Gatsby, Daisy is a green light on the other side of the lake. Of course, this little element of the book can be interpreted in numerous ways, but Gatsby spends many hours trying to reach it, no matter how hard he tries, it remains beyond his reach. Fitzgerald says, Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but thats no mattertomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther (Fitzgerald ). These are the closing lines of the story, and they contain the key to understanding Gatsbys motives. Here, Daisy is the biggest dream of Gatsby, the dream every person needs to continue living. Moreover, if Gatsby got Daisy, as he wanted, his life would have lost sense. In his love towards Daisy is human desire to live a life of purpose. That is why during the time they are apart, Gatsby is trying to become a valued member of the world of aristocracy. He needs Daisy to justify his own desire to be rich and respected by people like Daisy and Tom. However, what Jay feels inside is totally different from his nature he realizes that the life he is searching is not meant for him, but he is not going to stop.
Talking about Gatsbys feelings towards Daisy, one cannot but mention the most famous line of the novel, So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past (Fitzgerald). Really, Jay Gatsby is planning his future, but what he wants is to live in the past. In conversation with Daisy, he often reminisces of their past adventures and feelings they shared. The narrator of the story, though, tries to convince Gatsby that his intentions are fruitless, You cannot repeat the past, to which Gatsby replies, Why of course you can! (Fitzgerald). Thus, his love towards Daisy might be explained as human feeling of nostalgia.
Apart from that, Daisy is also a symbol of his romantic hope for a better future. Interestingly, he keeps hoping with extreme stubbornness although his chances to bring back his love are obviously low, he does not believe it and continues fighting against the odds. Moreover, he believes that by changing his current life, he can change not only his future, but also his past. The reader does not know much about Gatsbys former life, and what is known rather reminds a legend. However, despite all his hopes and efforts, Gatsby cannot change his past, and Daisy, like a ghost from his previous life, is haunting him, and he cannot and does not want to leave her behind.
In conclusion, The Great Gatsby is not simply a love story, for it depicts a much wider range of problems. One cannot deny, though, that there is a romantic feeling between Gatsby and Daisy, but it haunts them rather like a memory from the past. For Gatsby, Daisy might symbolize his desire to become a full-fledged member of the upper class. Since this goal cannot be reached, the woman is compared to the green light on the other side of the lake Gatsby looks at it every evening, hoping that someday it will be in his hands. Similarly, Daisy is a symbol of his past which he so desperately tries to change, but to which he, nonetheless, returns.