Great Gatsby

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Religion is a canvas, upon which people paint their model of a superior being. In the book The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald paints his own image of the heavens. In the tragic tale of a failed dream, Fitzgerald paints a modernist view of god with the image of T.J. Eckleberg. His god has no morals, no design. It does not know itself nor does it care. It just is.

The book begins with an introduction of Tom and Daisy, the elite. Afterwards, Fitzgerald zooms out to the neighborhood and paints the city. The dismal scene of ashes and disappointment is completed with the bleak lives of the 'ash-gray' working men. There, the pair of eyes materializes. Elevated above the 'spasms of bleak dust', the sign is characterized with 'retinas one yard high'no face'a pair of enormous yellow spectacles' (Fitzgerald 23). The image, high above the city, is a symbol for a higher being, a god. Although Wilson claims that 'God sees everything' (Fitzgerald160), his existence is meaningless. The faceless god lacks identity. His enormous eyes not only show his omniscience, but also the tone of the novel. The eyes are weary and dimmed by the 'paintless days under the sun and rain, [brooded] over the solemn dumping ground' (Fitzgerald 24). Like the god, Nick, by the end of the novel, is worn out by solemn burial ground of Gatsby. Like Nick, god sees, but does not do.

From a bigger perspective, the higher being represents as an upper boundary, limits of the society. Besides Nick, most of the major characters do not recognize the sign. As a result, these characters share similar characteristics. The money behind Daisy, Tom and Gatsby puts them on a higher social class, but it also gives them a feeling omnipotence. The 'careless people' live their lives with no boundaries. Tom and Daisy '[smashes] up things and creatures and then [retreats] back into their money' (Fitzgerald 179). Their behavior exhibits their apathy to not only those above, but also those below. As Tom and Daisy live on with their self-centered lives, the god looks on impassively.





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PK4evr This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm
I had to read the Great Gatsby for school, but your summary makes me want to read it again even after all the analysis work I had to do! Good job!
 
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