The Illusion that is Jay Gatsby | Teen Ink

The Illusion that is Jay Gatsby

April 27, 2009
By brianna94 BRONZE, San Antonio, Texas
brianna94 BRONZE, San Antonio, Texas
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby represents a man blinded by his own greed and imagination. He wants only money and love and must work hard to achieve both. The era of this book reflects greatly on the actions and ideas of Gatsby’s character. This book is a good example of corruption brought upon a person who goes after something that is filled completely with empty promise.

Jay Gatsby wants so deeply to experience love that he puts his faith completely into someone that could never fulfill his expectations. After he reunites with Daisy, the narrator describes Gatsby’s expression saying, “I saw the expression of bewilderment had come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness” (pg.97). Gatsby’s expression describes a feeling of emptiness and realization that the woman of his dreams may not amount to his high expectations. For five years, Gatsby lived the dream that Daisy and him would soon reunite. Now that he has her, there is nothing more he must work for in life. He experiences the empty feeling of Daisy not amounting to the illusion he created. Even after Gatsby experienced an empty dream, he still cannot admit to himself that this woman is not the love of his life. Gatsby is so invested in an unattainable dream that he cannot bring himself to face the reality. The narrator asks Gatsby to flee for his own safety and realizes, “He couldn’t possibly leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do. He was clutching at some last hope and I couldn’t bear to shake him free.”(pg.148). Gatsby knows that Daisy cannot leave her husband, yet is completely blinded by his love for the dream of her. He convinces himself that she will leave her husband, and they will somehow end up together. This love and devotion for Daisy depicts Gatsby as a man of tremendous imagination, who has an ability to transform his hopes and dreams into reality.

Jay Gatsby’s motivation of love drives him achieve a life of luxury, wealth, and popularity to win over Daisy. The narrator says, “ He had deliberately given Daisy a sense of security; he let her believe that he was a person from much the same stratum as herself –that he was fully able to take care of her. As a matter of fact, he had no such facilities.” (pg.149). Gatsby feels that the only way to win Daisy over is by creating a lavish life full of money and beautiful people. He believes that by attaining this lifestyle, he is worthy of her love. Gatsby dedicated himself to winning Daisy, which leads him to gain millions of dollars, buy an ostentatious mansion, and hold weekly parties. The love for his own illusion of Daisy motivates him in many ways. Gatsby even felt it necessary to fabricate his entire identity. The narrator states, “So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.” Gatsby reinvents himself to conform to his own ideas of how he should live and how people should perceive him. He lies about countless things, so he can portray a man of wealth with sophistication and class. He goes to this extreme to fit into the same stature as Daisy, the love of his life.

Gatsby is initially presented as a wealthy, aloof man with a lavish lifestyle. Towards the end of the novel, Gatsby’s illusion of himself deconstructs to portray a young, naïve man who devotes himself to a dream that seems completely unattainable. When Gatsby realistically sees his dream fall apart, the corruption follows. Gatsby is a man of loyalty and devotion that simply became unworthy due to the power of money.

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This article has 1 comment.

M-Ant said...
on May. 5 2013 at 8:26 pm
This was an excellent book. I read it years ago.  And this was an excellent interpretation of the emotions and motives of Jay Gatsby.  Very good.