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The Search For Utopia In The Great Gatsby

1169 words - 5 pages

  In Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, the reader discovers multiple interpretations of utopia. Each character is longing for one particular paradise. Only one character actually reaches utopia, and the arrival is a mixed blessing at best. The concept of paradise in The Great Gatsby is “a shifting, evanescent illusion of happiness, joy, love, and perfection, a mirage that leads each character to reach deeper, look harder, strive farther”(Lehan, 57). All the while, time pulls each individual farther from the moment he seeks.

            There is Myrtle Wilson's gaudy, flashy hotel paradise in which she can pretend that she is glamorous, elite, wanted and loved. She clings fiercely ...view middle of the document...

There is an "ashes to ashes dust to dust" element to every action in the novel, and Myrtle is no exception. We as readers focus more on Daisy and Tom, Gatsby and Nick; Myrtle's fall is telling the same story as Gatsby's, as Daisy's. In the end, her life is worth no more and no less than the great millionaire in his mansion on West Egg.

Daisy and Tom are bereft of these dreams. Daisy at one point in the novel suddenly rebelled, realizing that she did not love the man she was going to marry despite his rich gifts, and Jordan describes her struggle ""Tell 'em all Daisy's change her mine. Say "Daisy's change her mine!"" She began to cry -- she cried and cried . . . She wouldn't let go of the letter. She took it into the tub with her and squeezed it up into a wet ball and only let me leave it in the soap dish when she saw that it was coming to pieces like snow." (Fitzgerald, 81). Society in the form of Jordan Baker was there to spread on more lies to cover the rough spots, to make the surface elegant and hope no one had depth enough to look beneath it.

When Daisy marries Tom "without so much as a shiver" she becomes an empty person, who lives but takes no joy in it. It could be said that she exists. When Gatsby returns with all her old dreams in his hat and his glittery mansion across the bay, like some handsome prince come to rescue her, Daisy tries but cannot return to the time that Gatsby has been living in for the past five years. She has become the shell that Jordan fixed up and sent off to a wedding, one of the "careless people" that Nick describes her as.

            Tom and Jordan are careless and destructive because they never have anything to care about. For them, life has been money and bright lights, cities and high paying jobs, parties with American aristocracy in expansive pleasure houses. This all glitters, but none of it is gold. When Nick speaks of his home town, a Midwest of open plains, family and friendship, he is speaking of an emotional "home" none of these people ever possessed. What passes for love in their world is the act of clinging to empty dreams of Eden, "blue gardens where men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars" (Fitzgerald, 43).


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