Three characters in The Great Gatsby and the theme of obsession

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Three characters in The Great Gatsby and the theme of obsession.

Deep within feelings of love, hope, determination and perseverance is a dark entity, a slow growing parasite that feeds off feelings of rejection, despair, failure-the feelings people keep hidden, suffocating inside. The entity is a shape shifter of sorts, transforming and rooting itself in the empty realities created by individuals. In its new form, obsession has embedded its roots into three specific characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby: Jay Gatsby, an overly hopeless romantic, Daisy Buchanan, a lady of incredibly high maintenance, greed and impossible standards, and George Wilson, a meager car mechanic with a broken marriage. The obsession shrouds the minds of these characters with a miasma of denial and false hope, which inevitably destroys something within them. The characters of this riveting novel are the driving force behind that one incredible, but tragic summer in the midst of the Roaring ’20s.

Jaded, Arrogant, Youthful. Jay Gatsby is-was, the epitome of the undying and passionate love that one human can offer another. But was what he was feeling really love? Obsession, in his case, plagued the true perception of love and dedication and transformed those feelings into a compulsive and unrealistic desire to possess Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby”s one, “true” love. Gatsby’s obsession drove him to illustrate an intricate fantasy world, with Daisy as the “high priestess”, and Gatsby as her suitor. Nick Carraway, Gatsby’s good friend, states,

“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams-no through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion…No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart” .

Clearly, Gatsby must have looked reality in the eyes, blinked, and ignored it entirely. Readers are unsure whether or not Gatsby did have a reality check, or if he knew that his life’s goal was entirely beyond his reach. Gatsby has a history of his obsessions with Daisy including the complete file of Daisy’s life, composed of news articles and magazine clippings. Gatsby worked vigorously to acquire money to build his astonishing mansion and even more money to purchase beautiful silk shirts from England. In addition, his home happened to be sitting on the piece of land across from Daisy’s house-a perfect view of the green light at the end of her dock. Nick states, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us” . The green light symbolizes his longing, his obsession, his want for Daisy. Sadly enough, his want for her transforms into a chain of mindless actions. First, he lets Daisy drive the car to “calm her nerves,” which results in the vicious, yet tragic death of Myrtle Wilson who is ironically the long-time mistress of Tom Buchanan, Daisy’s husband. Gatsby and Daisy both return home, and Gatsby, as usual, waits by her home to see whether or not she would escape with him into the night. George Wilson discovers the true owner of the yellow car that hit Myrtle, and heads straight to Gatsby’s house, gun in hand. As Gatsby lay in the pool, he was shot and killed by the vengeful George Wilson, who then proceeded to commit suicide. Jay Gatsby’s dead body sunk deep into the pool, into Summer’s waning hands. His clear obsession of Daisy and the “month of love” they had together ultimately aided to his unfortunate downfall-his sacrifice. To Nick’s surprise, Gatsby states, “Can’t repeat the past?…Why of course you can”. Gatsby’s weary heart would forever drift through the faint reminisces of the past, where Daisy once believed in true love, when true love still existed in their young hearts.

The ravenous roots of obsession implanted itself into the mind of Daisy Buchanan as well. Daisy was a well-known and affluent lady of East Egg who did not carry the world on her shoulders, but in her wallet. Gatsby mentions that, “Her voice is full of money” . Daisy was obsessed with the toys of the rich, what made the world go “round; the green made her heart leap. Though Daisy might seem like the kind of girl you could take home to your parents, she was nothing of the sort. She was the queen of manipulation. Daisy was obsessed with the notion of another person exuding his/her love for her. She loved attention-whether it was positive or negative. In addition to her air-headedness, she was utterly confused about what and whom she wanted. She even says, “What”ll we do with ourselves this afternoon? Cried Daisy, and the day after that, and the next thirty years”. The reuniting of her and Gatsby with his love, and her powerful urge to put up with a very wealthy man fought to the death in her mind. Even her marriage with Tom Buchanan appeared to be framed because all they seemed to enjoy was their incredible sum of money. Nick makes an intelligent remark about them, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together”.

It was true; Daisy could not leave Tom or ever love Gatsby because her sick obsession with money had already consumed her entirely. Love was never a factor in any of Daisy’s relationships, and she would never let something as petty as love get in the way of her money. As Daisy drove home with Gatsby beside her that hot day, she ran over Myrtle Wilson, the woman she knew to be Tom’s mistress. With the minor distraction out of her life and Tom’s, she finally realized that she could not leave Tom or the money. Daisy and Tom quickly leave the town for a long while, right after the three deaths. Daisy shrunk back into her obsessive desire for money, erased the notion of true love from her head, and continued to breathe as if that summer had not existed at all.

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Burning and thriving beneath the vengeful eyes of George Wilson are the destructive roots of Obsession. Wilson is completely infatuated with Myrtle, a sensuous and sexual woman, one with vitality and life. Wilson nearly idolizes her and sometimes cannot even believe he is married to such a vivacious woman for he was the exact opposite. Sadly, his stupidity and impulsiveness lead to his demise. Tom, Myrtle’s lover, even says, “He’s so dumb he doesn’t know he’s alive”. Wilson is desperate to keep Myrtle-he even goes through the length to keep her locked up in her upstairs bedroom, like a caged ...

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