25 November 2014
The role of love in The Great Gatsby
“The truth about love is all a lie,” as the pop artist Pink would put it. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is set in the roaring twenties. It follows a man named Jay Gatsby who’s one goal in life is to be reunited with the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan. Nick Carraway, the protagonist and narrator moves into a humble home neighboring Gatsby’s mansion. Across the bay from Gatsby, Daisy and her husband Tom live in their own luxurious mansion. Throughout the book it is made clear that love is an impossible goal to reach for every character in the story, but especially Daisy and Gatsby. Throughout The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald shows that love is unreachable for these characters because of how Daisy values materialism over love and because of Gatsby’s illusion of what him and Daisy had to be.
In the years that Gatsby waited for Daisy he held such high expectations of their reunion that there was no possible way reality could satisfy him. Gatsby has been in love with Daisy since the day they met, and he wants nothing more than to be with her and give her the world. But because they’ve been apart for so long, Daisy becomes more of an idea in his mind then an actual person that he could be with. When Daisy visits Gatsby for the first time, Nick says, “… As though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness. Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams-not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion” (95). This shows that because Gatsby has waited so long for this reunion, it makes it hard for Daisy to really live up to his expectations, which in turn makes them loving each other almost impossible. Another example of his high expectations for Daisy is when Gatsby tries to tell Tom that Daisy never loved him. Gatsby says, “ ‘I’ve got something to tell you, old sport’… ‘your wife doesn’t love you,… she’s never loved you. She loves me… ‘Oh, you want too much!’ she cried to Gatsby. ‘I love you now- isn’t that enough? I cant help what’s past.’ She began to sob helplessly. ‘I did love him once- but I love you too’” (130, 132). Gatsby wanted everything to go back to the way it was when they first met and because of this he held his expectations way too high for Daisy, who could not love him to the extent she loved her. Gatsby’s unrealistic supposition of Daisy, shown through actions he takes, is why love is unreachable in The Great Gatsby. The actions and decisions Daisy makes throughout her life show that she values material things over love and this is why love isn’t possible between her and Gatsby. Throughout the book it is prevalent that Daisy values material things more than people. It becomes very clear to the reader when she talks to Nick about her daughter, Daisy says, “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.” This shows that Daisy thinks life is the best when you aren’t aware of much and you’re fooled by