The Great Gatsby: Different Kinds of Love

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Great Gatsby: Different kinds of love

Fitzgerald explores different kinds of love. There is a love for social fame,  materialistic love, a love of wealth, success, life and finally a love for one another whether it be through friendship or otherwise. 

It begins with a love of belonging. Fitzgerald begins with Nick Carraway cynically reflecting on human nature, how we are indeed an animalistic society beneath our veneer of dignity. His first sense of belonging seemed to open up a love in his heart, perhaps this love was shared by his fellow Americans, there seemed to be hints that even the wealthy needed reassurance they belonged.

The American dream is about establishing a sense of history and a sense of belonging. “....some man, more recently arrived than I, stopped me on the road...I was a original settler.” Nick as despising of the superficial society as he may be, was just another man wandering the land of opportunity looking to belong.

This leads to a love of attention displayed by Fitzgerald. Even Nick is subject to the craving of attention.  A lust for stardom is portrayed by many characters in the novel. This becomes most obvious at Gatsby’s party when several individuals are described almost as circus acts as they perform to a self-praising crowd “A pair of stage twins....did a baby act in costume”. It appears the substance of their act is irrelevant, as long as they receive attention they are uncaring to the type of attention they receive. Their demeaning actions of conduct are somewhat pitiful; they are prepared to throw away their dignity just to get attention.

It is also clear that Daisy and Tom have developed a love of social status and the attention that accompanies it.  “Do they miss me?” “”Look!” She complained “I hurt it.”” Perhaps they need attention in order to feel purposeful. When out of the spot light they (especially Tom) become “restless”. Despite this emptiness and lack of meaning to the purpose of the attention it seems a vital part of their lives.

This generation seemed to have a craving to be loved even if it is through superficial terms. Tom seems to enjoy gaining social superiority through “white supremacy” despite his opinion being blinkered, racist and arrogant Tom seems to seek comfort in this hollow social status.

Continually, this wild, extravagant and showy generation have also seemed to develop a love of status. This becomes apparent during the party at the apartment. Myrtle states “these people, you have to keep after them all the time.” She gives herself status However Myrtle Wilson is nobody. She lives in the “valley of ashes” with her “grey” husband and unsuccessful life. She basks in the opportunity of gaining some status with Tom at her side. This is also shown when Myrtle describes her first encounter with Tom “He had on a dress suit and patent leather shoes, and I couldn’t keep my eyes off him...his white shirt-front pressed against my arm...” By mentioning his clothing it suggests that she is very shallow and superficial especially when it comes to what makes a “gentleman”. It seems not who the person truly is but who their facade shows them to be that is important to Myrtle. “Soft-voiced girls, who were brought up on memories instead of money” this is contrast to the women portrayed by Fitzgerald. In The Ice Palace the women have much different values. They appreciate real things and build their loves without façades.

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Fitzgerald portrays this again with Gatsby’s love of the idea of having Daisy, not in love with Daisy herself “It excited him, too, that many men had already loved Daisy – it increased her value in his eyes. Again this is emphasising that it isn’t about loving a person for their character but for their price in society.

Tom, Daisy and Gatsby all seem lost in fortune; in insecure wealth. “it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville in Normandy”  pretending to be something it is not. They are not true to themselves, this facade they create ...

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