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Was Jay Gatsby a Good Man?

Essay by   •  April 25, 2011  •  Essay  •  802 Words (4 Pages)  •  6,487 Views

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To put Gatsby on a fence between good and evil, it's difficult to determine which side he would lean towards. What makes Gatsby such an intricate character is the first impression he makes on the audience. At first, Gatsby could be sought as being kind, self-motivated, harmless and genuine but as we dig deeper into his past, we learn that he is the complete opposite. The story begins with Nick's recollection of Gatsby from a distance. Nick is fascinated by Gatsby's profound wealth, fame, and mysterious persona. Every weekend, Gatsby holds lavish parties that people long to get invited to but most of the people that attend, don't personally know Gatsby. The only information the public knows about Gatsby are the rumors that are made up about him. One rumor suggests that Gatsby "killed a man once" (The Great Gatsby, 44) but there isn't any sort of solid evidence to support that claim except for the fact that Gatsby was in World War 1. As the story continues, Nick finally gets to meet Gatsby and learns that the purpose for the parties were to attract Daisy, Nick's cousin and Gatsby's ex-lover. We can admire Gatsby for his determination to still pursue Daisy after so long but is it admirable if Daisy is married?

Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan, a rich East Egger known for his wealth and infidelity. Tom is in an affair with Myrtle which is the wife of Wilson, a man Tom is negotiating a car deal with. When Tom and Gatsby first meet, there is obviously bad blood between the two. Tom dislikes Gatsby because Tom suspects that Gatsby engages in illegal activity as a means to attain his wealth. Not only that, but Tom also suspects the affair between Daisy and Gatsby. It's easy to diagnose Tom as being the antagonist of the text due to his snobbish, judgmental nature. As a result we sort of accept the affair between Daisy and Gatsby as justifiable but is it really? Putting Gatsby under the microscope, it seems he chooses to overlook Tom's marriage to Daisy with a lack of respect. He cunningly plots his meeting with Daisy and even tries to get her to admit she never loved Tom. Gatsby's actions reveal a deeper and darker side that reeks of jealously envy, and selfishness. Is this the type of person one should admire? Furthermore we have to question the type of person Gatsby is for having an interest in Daisy.

Daisy is a very self-centered, shallow, irresponsible, and spoiled character. Being born wealthy, Daisy has no sense of work ethic or responsibility. Her whole life revolves around luxury. This is reflected in the way she treats her daughter. The way she treats her child isn't with the love a mother treats her daughter with but rather the way a child shows off a toy. When the Nurse brings out Daisy's daughter during the luncheon, Daisy "seems almost uninterested in her child". (Sparknotes.com) For Gatsby to be attracted to a person like this displays how shallow

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