Corrupt Romantic Quest Essay, Research Paper
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald presents the 1920?s society as delusional. The book is set up to resemble a romantic story. It has a hero, villain, damsel in distress and a chronicler. Gatsby has set out on a Romantic Quest in the story to achieve love and fortune. The book reveals the turmoil that someone with such a delusional dream must face to still be able to believe in his dream. Gatsby?s quest is presented as Romantic but twisted by a decayed and corrupt society.
Fitzgerald emphasizes the moral deterioration of the period, which is personified in many characters in the novel. Daisy is the damsel in distress. However, Daisy is corrupt and does not want to be rescued by Gatsby. She is married to the villain, Tom, for his money and social status, and is content staying there. Daisy believes that all women should yearn for a high social class, and not much more, she says about her daughter ?I?m glad it?s a girl. And I hope she?ll be a fool- that?s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool? (21). Tom is an upper-class man from Chicago who had ?come east in a fashion that rather took your breath away? (10). He has been cheating on Daisy since their honeymoon, when he cheated with one of the chambermaids in Santa Barbara. He is now having an affair with Myrtle, Wilson?s wife who runs the garage in the Valley of Ashes, and is very open about it. Tom is also a hypocrite, he describes society as ?going to pieces?(17) while he himself makes self-indulgent actions without thinking of the consequences. Tom?s other fear is of power shifting, he is extremely wary of African Americans and tells Nick, the chronicler, ?if we don?t look out the white race will be- will be utterly submerged?(17). Nick is the chronicler in the book and gets placed in the middle of all situations. He is from the Midwest and moved East to ?learn the bond business?(7). He always makes the comparison of the purity of the Midwest to the corrupt society of the east. He appears admirable and honest. Nick takes people for who they are after receiving good advice from his father, which told him not to criticize anyone because ?all the people in this world haven?t had the advantages that you?ve had?(5). However, he does question Tom?s morals when it comes to Daisy, ?I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking a little wistfully for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game?(10). Nick seems to have himself grounded and in tune with his goals in life.
The hero is Gatsby, who has his rise and fall within the novel while Gatsby has set out to accomplish his goals in life, fame and fortune and love. However, he is attempting to accomplish them the wrong way. He believes Daisy would never go back to him if he were not wealthy. Gatsby throws extravagant parties in his house that is a ?factual imitation of some H?tel de Ville in Normandy with? more than forty acres of lawn and garden?(9). He invites aimless and shallow guests, whom he does not even know, in the hope that Daisy may be attracted to one some day. Gatsby fails to see that Daisy does not want someone who has bought his way into upper-class society, with money supposedly from his connections in the bootlegging business. She prefers Tom who was born into wealth and money. Gatsby can be viewed as typical hero who tried to hard and was broken down by demands from society.
Gatsby was ruined by society. He came back from the war with a dream so unrealistic, it would never come true. The war destroyed men in ways no other event could, they came back even more delusional than the rest of their society. Toward the end on the book, Gatsby realizes the horrific effects of the war on his life and tells Jordan ?I?m five years to old to lie to myself and call it honor?(186). Gatsby is made out to be suspicious by the vicious rumors spread by his guests. Lucille, who claims to have been at several of Gatsby?s parties recalls an incident where she tore her gown on a chair and Gatsby sent her a new one, one of the other guests eagerly says ?He doesn?t want any trouble with anybody?(48). Another girl claims ?Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once?(48). This society that Gatsby chooses to be with do not aid him.
Gatsby failed at his quest, perhaps it is because he set his standards to an unrealistic level or that society chose to be selfish toward him. The story did not end up being a true romantic quest because the hero did not get his prize, which turned Gatsby into an antihero. He was just as delusional as everybody else and was not able to see where and when it was time to let go of his dream, which led to his tragic death. His final heroism is then eliminated by Owl Eyes in a last final memory of Gatsby as a ?poor son-of-a-bitch?(183).