Great Gatsby-Corruption Essay, Research Paper
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a classic American novel about an obsessed man named Jay Gatsby who will do anything to be reunited with the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan. The book is told through the point of view of Nick Caraway, Daisy’s cousin once removed, who rented a little cottage in West Egg, Long Island across the bay from Daisy’s home. Nick was Jay Gatsby’s neighbor. Tom Buchanan is Daisy’s abusive, rich husband and their friend, Jordan Baker, has caught the eye of Nick and Nick is rather smitten by her. Gatsby himself is a very ostentatious man and carries a rather mysterious aura about himself which leads to the question: Is Gatsby’s fortune a house of cards built to win the love of his life or has Daisy entranced him enough to give him the motivation to be so successful? While from a distance Jay Gatsby appears to be a well-educated man of integrity, in reality he is a corrupt, naive fool.
Jay Gatsby fell in love with a young Daisy Buchanan prior to his military assignment overseas in WWI. Gatsby wanted to marry Daisy but she wouldn’t marry him because he was poor and not a socialite. Gatsby then spent the five years, after his return home from the war; he strived to accumulate enough wealth to receive Daisy’s love and attention.
There is one quote in my cards that I honestly had no idea what it meant. The quote was just plain creepy though. I had no idea it was when these little girls walked by Nick and Gatsby. The little girls were singing:
I m the sheik of Arabia,
Your love belongs to me.
At night when you re asleep,
Into you tent I ll creep. (pg.83)
Then all of a sudden it hit me. It is such a foreshadow device and the little girls represent Daisy and the spell she has over Gatsby and Gatsby s eventual downfall. The quote is about someone who s love for another person is so great but that love cannot be so the person in love is killed, by love. Since this quote was only mentioned once Fitzgerald didn t want to pound it into our head that way. However, this quote is a sign early in the book the Gatsby and Daisy will never happen. I wish I had picked up on that when reading the book it really is a noticeable quote and a very important foreshadow. I think Fitzgerald just makes it stand out by having these random girls singing as they walk by but it is very relevant to the story and the fact that Gatsby is chasing an impossible dream.
Jay Gatsby, by doing various things with his own appearance, tries to leave an impression on people that he is a well-educated man of integrity. His clothes were very flamboyant, such as his pink suit, and meant to show off his wealth and draw attention to himself. He also knew there were many rumors floating around about his life, some of which he put out himself, which were blatant lies, but perpetuated an image he wanted to have hoping that Daisy would hear of him and make the connection. Such rumors about him would float around in his parties such as: “Someone told me they thought he killed a man once” or “…he was a German spy during the war” or “…he was in the American Army during the war.” and even “… He told me once he was an Oxford man.”(pg.48) Also, there were rumors floating around about his occupation “He’s a bootlegger.”(Pg. 53). Gatsby did nothing to disparage these rumors either way; in fact, he encouraged them with misrepresented evidence. He once showed a medal to Nick implying that he was a great war hero: “I was promoted to be a major and every allied country gave me a medal even Montenegro. Little Montenegro even gave me a medal”(pg.70). Gatsby also constantly kept a photo of him and some friends from the war at Oxford, to which he later admitted was just for a visit.
Gatsby kept an enormous house that was extremely well maintained by dozens of servants. The house was quite a spectacle when lit up entirely: “It looked like the World’s fair was here I saw the light miles away.” (Pg. 87). The house alone in daylight was quite a sight in it’s own right “It was a factual imitation of some H tel de Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden.”(pg.9). When Gatsby threw a party, which was every weekend, with all foods and beverages being of high quality, abundant and free to everyone, it left people wondering how he could possibly afford all that. The artwork in his home was beautiful. Although everyone showed up at his parties, he himself rarely mingled with the guests. His study had books all around stacked to the ceiling which was amazing when all the books were real and it appeared that he Gatsby had read them all himself. Gatsby seemed to be a man with many friends when in fact he had no friends, just acquaintances, many of which would disappear at the slightest hint of trouble.
However, in reality, Gatsby knew he was a corrupt fraud. All the gossip was just an attempt to gain some attention in hopes that Daisy would hear his name in conversation and connect it to his real name (James Gatz). Gatsby kept few friends because he thought his reputation would be more elaborate if no one REALLY knew him. When someone has a friend they tell their friend things they wouldn t tell other people. That is part of being a friend telling your friend secrets and listening to your friends secrets. If you notice when Gatsby became friends with Nick he was telling Nick the real truth, eventually, about everything. Gatsby was a rather boring man in real life. However, his reputation made him infamous in the long island area. With friends his reputation wouldn t be as memorable because all the extravagance people put on their stories wouldn t be there.
When Gatsby returned from the war he was a destitute man but still had the determination to hit it big so Daisy would marry him. He met a man named Meyer Wolfsheim, a notorious gangster, gambler and bootlegger. Wolfsheim is most recognized for his role as being the man that fixed the 1919 World Series. However, Wolfsheim took a liking to Gatsby and introduced him into a business in which Gatsby made a fortune. Wolfsheim is credited with “making” Gatsby, which explains Gatsby s devout loyalty to Wolfsheim. Wolfsheim is deviously smart, which, according to Gatsby is the reason he has yet to be caught. Wolfsheim also showed Gatsby a little trick to help “grease the wheels of the business machine” by paying off the local police.
Whenever Gatsby was confronted by a friend about his business he would say things he’s done but never what he was doing: “I’ve been in several things…I was in the drug business …oil business.” Also, every so often the servant may poke his head in and say something along the lines of “Philadelphia is on the phone sir” and Gatsby would drop everything. The odd thing about the calls besides how he dropped everything is how all calls are referred to by city which means there is only one very important person in each city and that all the calls are from major cities on the East coast. From Gatsby’s dealings with Wolfsheim and his business associates in other cities we can infer that Gatsby is in fact a man with real fortune obtained via illegal methods, most likely bootlegging.
Although Gatsby is not a particularly manipulative person, he did use Jordan to manipulate Nick into getting Daisy over to his house so she could see his tremendous wealth. Nick, who became Gatsby s only/best friend possibly, I found myself on Gatsby s side alone, was used by Gatsby something, only a sick, manipulative person would do. Gatsby lied to Nick about virtually everything and never alluded to the truth of his humble upbringing and illegal business. Gatsby never shared the total truth with Nick because he was Daisy s cousin and since Gatsby didn t trust Nick enough to tell him those secrets they were never Gatsby was never a true friend of Gatsby s even though Nick was a true friend of Gatsby s. Gatsby knows he is corrupt after he offers Nick a well paying job and Nick being a person of high morals denies the job on account of moral issues.
Most of all Gatsby was a naive fool. Gatsby had spent the last five years of his life working towards what Daisy wanted five years before. Gatsby finally achieved it and he expected Daisy to have stayed the same for those five years. The Daisy that Gatsby fell in love with is not the same woman he would eventually lose his life for. Daisy in fact became a spoiled, irresponsible, gold digging witch when she married Tom. Daisy hit Myrtle Wilson with Gatsby s car and never fessed up. Gatsby ironically thought he had finally re-created their past feelings for each other and waited for her to call or come over so they could start their lives over again, together. After Gatsby was murdered Daisy did nothing: no flower, no call and she didn t even attend his funeral. She went on vacation in Europe while her new house was being built. The one woman Jay Gatsby had spent his entire adult life chasing and madly in love with was the reason that he was shot in the back while waiting for her to come. The shot out of Wilson’s gun was the knife Daisy had stabbed into the back of Gatsby when she led him on.