The Great Gatsby:
The Fa ade and Realities of Sight
Sight is such an important sense to our everyday livings; not only to how we survive, but how we judge; the fronts we are meant to see, and the realities we are not. To see is to know the absolute truth, but to missee is to have the allusion of truth, which would eventually prove itself to be merely a cloudy fa ade. In F. Scott Fitzgerald s novel entitled The Great Gatsby, it is this seeing and misseeing which is the crucial factor in making and breaking the characters of its tragic story. In this novel, Fitzgerald uses many metaphorical occurrences of sight to show how corrupt and superficial the lives and actions of the characters, mainly Gatsby, truly was.
Gatsby s pathetic life is reflected in his gaudy house. His house is a key symbol of aspiration reflecting both Gatsby s success as an American self-made man and the mirage of an identity he has created to win Daisy s love. Gatsby follows his American Dream as he buys the house (with it s extravagant accessories) to be across the bay from Daisy, and has parties to gain widespread recognition in order to impress her. This is all the front Daisy as well as other characters are meant to see. Yet, Owl Eyes compares Gatsby s mansion to a house of cards, muttering, that if one brick was removed the whole library was liable to collapse (50). Ultimately, the inevitable collapse occurs, as Gatsby loses Daisy and dies, basically friendless, prompting Nick to refer to the Gatsby mansion as that huge incoherent failure of a house (188) .
Another missight is that of the idealization of Daisy by Gatsby. After the 5 long years when neither had seen eachother, Gatsby still dwelled on the incomplete, fantasy of love, which was more a dream than reality. Gatsby s death truly occurred after his first kiss with Daisy in that he became obsessed afterwards to the point where he no longer had a personality, just a fake one to please her. His single-mindedness was born when Gatsby admits after that kiss he forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of god (117) . Thought through his devotion to Daisy, he has unintentionally created an ideal for Daisy to live up to, so much so that it leads Nick (the only character which sees all untaintedly) to say There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams- not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of hi illusion (101) . Sadly, even up to his death, Gatsby s illusion, or missight proves to inevitably be unobtainable to the extent in which he aspired.
Through this all, there is one that remains omniscient and untainted other than Nick. They are the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. These gigantic blue eyes without a face provide an eternal presence which looms above the ash-heaps of corruption and dirty truths. It is in this Valley of ashes where Tom has his affair with Myrtle, where Daisy kills Myrtle with Gatsby s yellow car, and where George Wilson decides to murder Gatsby. In a seemingly unimportant rant by the grief stricken Wilson, his calling of the eyes as God is no mistake. Just before she dies he brings her to the eyes and tells her God knows what you ve been doing, everything you ve been doing. You may fool me but you can t fool God! God sees everything (167) . Thus, this abandoned billboard serves as not only the provider of consolation for Wilson, but also the ultimate judge of morality for all the characters of the story.
Although tainted by corruption, the characters are not themselves the ones to blame for their corrupt and superficial ways. As Nick says about Gatsby (but which pertains to all the other characters of the novel) Gatsby turned out alright in the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men (6) .