Nick Carraway, the narrator, muses that Gatsby, alone among the people of his stature, strove to make his dreams a reality. It is this that makes him great. However, the time for such grandiose aspirations is over. Greed and dishonesty have irrevocably corrupted the dreams of individual Americans and the American dream. The Great Gatsby narrative essay highlights the social structure in American society and how such power can turn deadly in the hands of the wrong people.
Trouble in Playmen Mansions!
Nick Carraway is the great Gatsby's neighbor. He comes from a prominent midwestern family, is a Yale alumnus, and moved to New York to enter the bond business. When he arrives in New York, he visits his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom (Alworth & Fitzgerald, 2021). The Buchanans live in the poshest district of Long Island named East Egg.
Tom Buchanan instantly smells of conceit and arrogance due to his stark contrast with Nick. He is also a Yale alumnus and hails from a prominent midwestern family (Alworth & Fitzgerald, 2021). Unlike Nick, however, Tom is a bully with an obsession with class boundaries. By contrast, Daisy is an almost ghostly character that radiates an air of sophisticated boredom.
A Dangerous Affair
Nick meets Jordan Baker at the Buchanan mansion. She is a beautiful but cold young golf professional. Nick and Jordan later ignite a romantic flame, and Jordan tells Nick about Tom's affair with Myrtle Wilson. The woman lives in the valley of ashes, an industrial wasteland on the outskirts of New York City.
The narrator later goes to Gatsby's mansion and finds him gazing at a mysterious green light across the bay. In a later scene, Tom takes Nick to the city, and they stop at the garage owned by George Wilson. Tom asks George's wife, Myrtle, to join them later in the city. Tom takes Nick and Myrtle to an apartment in Morningside Heights and confirms his affair with Myrtle to Nick (Alworth & Fitzgerald, 2021). Myrtle gets intoxicated and becomes aggressive, taunting Tom about Daisy. He reacts by breaking the woman's nose. The party grinds to a halt.
Nick and Gatsby Grow Close
Nick then attends a lavish party at Gatsby's and runs into Jordan. Few attendees at the party know the host, and even fewer were formally invited. Nick notices Gatsby's nature at this party, noting his youth, slightly dandy, and handsome features. He also remarks on his English accent. At this point, Gatsby's origins remain unclear.
Gatsby claims to be a venerated war hero, comes from a wealthy San Francisco family, and earned his education at Oxford. In a later scene, Gatsby introduces Nick to his business associate, Meyer Wolfsheim. The newly introduced character has a notorious reputation, with many believing he fixed the 1919 World Series.
The Great Gatsby asks Nick Carraway to organize a meeting with Daisy Buchanan, where we proceed to learn the two were an item before they moved to Long Beach. Gatsby gives Daisy a tour of his mansion, desperate to impress her with his wealth. Despite this, he garners affection from Daisy, and they begin an affair. Gatsby tells Nick that he fell in love with Daisy when they met in Louisville before the war.
The Story of Gatsby
The true story of Gatsby emerges at this point. He was born James Gatz in North Dakota but legally changed his name at 17. Dan Cody, a gold baron and voyager was Gatsby's mentor until his death (Alworth & Fitzgerald, 2021). While Gatsby did not inherit any of Cody's fortune, the baron introduced Gatsby to the world of power, wealth, and privilege.
Despite his remarkable success, Tom views Gatsby as a danger to the social order. He accompanies Daisy to Gatsby's next party and is exceedingly rude to the host. Gatsby wishes to take Daisy from Tom. He worships Daisy and fails to realize that her small-mindedness led to their separation.
All Cards on the Table
Daisy later invites Gatsby, Nick, and Jordan to lunch at their house. She tells Gatsby she loves him to make Tom jealous and exact revenge for his affair. Tom is furious and forces the group to drive to the city. They have a bitter exchange with Gatsby, and Daisy refuses the latter's incessant pleas to tell her husband she does not love him (Alworth & Fitzgerald, 2021). In a twist, Tom allows Gatsby to drive Daisy home to assert his dominance and show his wife's complete subjection.
Gatsby allows Daisy to drive home to calm her nerves, but she swerves to avoid a car collision, veering off the road at George's garage and hitting Myrtle (Alworth & Fitzgerald, 2021). She dies instantly. George is devastated and intends to take revenge on his wife's killer. Tom tells him that Gatsby was driving the fatal car. George believes that Gatsby must also have been Meryl's lover. He shoots Gatsby before committing suicide.
The Empire That Never Was
The Buchanans leave town after the murder, and Gatsby's funeral is attended by few people, notably his father, Henry Gatz, who Nick brings to New York for the occasion. Nick learns of Gatsby's grand ambitions and is so disgusted by New York that he decides to leave the city.
Gatsby hosts glamorous parties in his mansion located in West egg, near New York City. He finds out that his newly acquired wealth does not entitle him to privileges those with generational wealth enjoy. His newfound wealth becomes his undoing in Tom's web of deceit.
Alworth, D. J., & Fitzgerald, F. S. (2021). The Great Gatsby. W.W. Norton and Company.
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