Essay about Summer Assignment

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AP Literature and Composition
Question #6 Fitzgerald tells the story of The Great Gatsby through the nonjudgmental point of view of Nick Carraway. We build a trust for the narrator as he claims he is “one of the few honest people” (59), waits to be invited to parties, and works for the money he receives (rather than inheriting it). Because of this, we blindly assume that the conclusions we are left with as we reach the final pages - are our own. Instead, Fitzgerald gently guides us like dogs on an invisible leash to the conclusion he wishes us to reach. The disaster, the death that Myrtle, Gatsby, and Wilson come to face, subconsciously lets us know to steer clear of jealousy, dishonesty, and selfishness, and rather than leaning towards a life filled with parties and travel, lean towards a life that holds purpose. There are many moments throughout the book where envy shows its green colors, most appearing in connection to the entwined affairs between married couples. In the beginning of the book we quickly find out that Tom is having an affair and Daisy is well aware. Myrtle, Tom's secret lover, is also married. Wilson, Myrtle's husband, is seemingly expendable, as Tom regards him in a haughty manner, waving him away repeatedly, and making him seem worthless in comparison to Tom himself. However the irony lies in Wilson's drastic actions which play an important role in the final pages of the book. Wilson learns about Myrtle's affair and is filled with envy, leaving him with only one 'logical' solution. He locks Myrtle up and claims “she's going to stay there till the day after to-morrow, and then we're going to move away” (136). Wilson's jealousy leads him to the radical conclusion that Gatsby – the owner of the car that ran over Myrtle – was also Myrtle's lover. Adding oil to the fire, this revelation points the gun in Wilson's hand at Gatsby, and next at himself. The green spreads throughout the book, infecting Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan in its path as well. Gatsby loves, and has loved Daisy for five years, and up until Chapter 7 he thought Daisy never loved Tom, claiming “she only married you [Tom] because I was poor” (130). However, Gatsby soon finds out that Daisy did love Tom once (page 132) and is shattered, jealous of Tom, and upset that he is not Daisy's only love. Nevertheless, Tom does not celebrate the fact that Daisy loved him once as he is too filled with jealousy that he is not Daisy's only love. The anger and resentment that drifts and spreads from envy draws out the ugly painting for us in clear colors. Fitzgerald shows the disaster caused from so much jealousy and proves no good comes out of it, and in turn we shake our heads at the relationships ruined, and easily come to despise the personal quality.

Deceit – the next sour treat on the menu – is a constant throughout The Great Gatsby, and it appears in two forms. One is outwardly manifested, the other is internal. Tom and Daisy live fantastic lavish lives, and are deluded into thinking that the wealth, social status, and luxury are enough. However they subconsciously itch for more, and this internal deception leads to a more external deceit – in the form of hiding each affair – as shown when Nick asks Tom whether Myrtle's husband objects to her spending the day with Tom, to which he answers: “Wilson? He thinks she goes to see her sister in New York” (26). The internal deception continues when Gatsby deludes himself into thinking he only has to become wealthy to gain Daisy back. He paints a new past, and lies about his old one as read on page 65 when he says “I am the son of some wealthy people in the Mid West- all dead now.” though his father is still alive. Daisy deludes herself as well, as she denies her love for Tom throughout her affair with Gatsby only to admit she “did love him once” but loved Gatsby too (132). The deceit and dishonesty lead up to the anger in chapter 7 between Tom and Gatsby