In the novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, many of the characters live in a world of their own creation. The characters of Daisy and Gatsby tend to be so swept up in the monstrous play that is their lives, that they mistake the act for reality.
As they made illusions into their reality, these individuals brought to a boil, a cauldron of internal suffering, conflict, deception and confusion for themselves and those around them. The book’s namesake, Jay Gatsby, can be awarded the title of one of the greatest magicians to ever exist. This is where the first illusion is found. He crafted an entirely new world and life garnished with fanciful lights, rivers of expensive, cache alcohols, decadent hor’dourves, bejeweled dresses, dancing, and emotional turmoil.
The smoke surrounding the man himself is thick enough to cut. Jay Gatsby’s real name is James Gatz. Gatz is a young man who was conceived in a poor North Dakota family. He despised poverty and longed for wealth and sophistication. He dropped out of college because he already despised the idea of working as a janitor to pay for his tuition. Gatz met and fell in love with Daisy Fay, a rich debutante from a patrician Louisville family but because of the war, told her to wait for him. Which she did not. Once Gatsby learned that Daisy decided not to wait for him, he then decided to commit his life to becoming Jay Gatsby, who represents the aspects of life that he feels are worthy of Daisy’s affections.
This is the next illusion. Gatsby builds an entire web of lies around Daisy that he is well-educated, and from a wealthy family, and that his wealth was well earned. He never realizes that not only will Daisy know who he truly is but that she does not truly love him. Gatsby’s fatal mistake is never realizing that when someones reveal who they are the first time, it is wise to believe them. Gatsby goes on with his life in hot pursuit of Daisy, never recognising that she will never choose him over wealth, prestige, and stability, which are her true loves.
By going so far as to buy a house that provides a view to her home and throwing lavish parties in an attempt to attract her attention and gain her affection Gatsby conveys to the audience and the characters around him that his entire life is nothing but a show put on for Daisy. Gatsby’s lavish life is nothing to him without Daisy, and by putting himself in such a position he sets the stage for many of the tragedies that occur. The positioning of Gatsby’s house not only serves his purpose of attracting Daisy but also serves to keep Gatsby entrapped in the grandest illusion that he and Daisy have created: the illusion that Daisy and Gatsby are going to be together. The very glittering lie takes the form of a green light on Daisy’s porch, one the Gatsby is often found gazing at, longingly. This light represents Daisy’s role in keeping the illusion alive. It’s like a light at the end of a tunnel that encourages him to continue trodding along after her. But all of this is what leads to his demise. Gatsby consistently risks it all for Daisy, commiting crimes to become wealthy, planning to take the fall for a death that was of her doing, and even submitting to death in the end.
All of this the product of a futile attempt to relive and revive a relationship left years in the past. A relationship that could never come to pass. And frighteningly enough, one that would never last. All that is done in the dark eventually comes to the light. If Daisy did go with Gatsby, it is not too far-fetched to say that he would have eventually still been exposed for the illegal actions that provided him his fortune. “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!”(Pg. 116) He is so determined to regain what was already lost to history, that he cannot face the reality that he cannot have Daisy.
The illusion that one can repeat the past provides more fuel to the flame that burn within Gatsby’s belly in his endeavor to reignite an old one. The character of Jay Gatsby and his story encompasses the message that while past repeats itself, people cannot repeat the past. When people attempt to take this process into their own hands it can ruin all that they worked to attain. According to the History Channel, “.
..the 1920s were an age of dramatic social and political change. For the first time, more Americans lived in cities than on farms. The nation’s total wealth more than doubled between 1920 and 1929, and this economic growth swept many Americans into an affluent but unfamiliar ‘consumer society.
” in the matter of worshipping money as God, as many Americans did, Daisy Buchanan would be canonized. Daisy Buchanan is the it-girl. Every girl want to be her and every guy who isn’t her cousin wants to be with her. However Daisy’s one true love is wealth, prestige and stability as previously mentioned. She never truly loves anyone, especially not Tom Buchanan, only marrying him for his money.
In fact, the only person she can be described as coming close to loving is Jay Gatsby. Alas, even that is a falsehood because she abandons him not once but twice. Once when he was James Gatz the poor man and again when he was Jay Gatsby the wealthy criminal. This shows that Daisy will never choose love over the materialistic, consumerist values ingrained in her as a woman of the roaring 20s. It can be argued that Daisy is the most evil, manipulative, immoral characters in the novel. If Gatsby is a magician, belle-of-the-ball Daisy Buchanan in a world-renown escape artist, using money to push reality into the closet and wrapping it around her like a safety blanket to deny and escape responsibility. In fact, she believes that having a lack of responsibility in life is the best way to live and even desires such for her daughter. Daisy says “And I hope she’ll be a fool-That’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.
“(Pg. 21). These words show that Daisy is not fond of dealing with reality and would much rather live a life of ignorance, blissfully unaware of that which transpires around her because that way, she can escape any of the blame. This is the role women must play in their society and Daisy is glad of it. While it may seem like her choices are made for her and that she isn’t strong enough to choose Gatsby over her husband, but Daisy’s choices are calculated. Daisy proves herself to be much more vindictive, ruthless, and evil than she appears. She has formed the illusion that she is helpless and her actions and choices are not her own but if Daisy was truly a fool she would have accepted her marriage to Tom as the end all be all of her life and paid Gatsby no mind.
But her actions suggest that she is more cognizantly careless than she appears. Her affair with Gatsby as nothing more than a dagger to twist into Tom’s gut. She blinds everyone with her cloud of purity making each amn seem like the true criminal to the other. Tom, on page 135, sends her off with Gatsby assuring her that Gatsby won’t “annoy’ her, suggesting that he is still under the impression that she is devoid of any responsibility in their conflicts. Tom fights for possession of Daisy partly because he is possessive but also partly because she is innocent in his eyes. Gatsby is obviously still fooled to the very end as well, ready to make great sacrifices to keep her safe, not realizing that he has been used and discarded like a cheap handkerchief.
A hankerchief that Daisy released her frustrations into and tossed to the side. Daisy’s choice to stay with Tom is made when Gatsby is outed as a bootlegger. Gatsby’s lack of stability and likely soon-to-be lack of wealth again send Daisy running the other way, choosing a man who does not value her because he is the better financial provider. Daisy will only ever choose love if it comes wrapped in silk bows and adorned with jewels. This is contrary to the illusion of purity and kindness and morality that she displays. In reality Daisy could not care less about the fate and feelings of the people around her, not even those she pretends to ‘love.
” She abandons Gatsby once again in his death and bats not a single eye at her murder of Myrtle. Daisy could be compared to Lucifer. She is an angel of light, appearing beautiful and pure but devilish in her evil, careless tendencies. Like the center of a daisy is yellow, surrounded by pure, white petals, Daisy in all her white dresses and pure appearances, has only gold at her core focus.
And just like her namesake, can be described as a weed that leaves death and destruction in her wake.The Great Gatsby perfectly illustrates how living in a fantasy as if it were reality and formulating illusions to soothe the bitter parts of reality can destroy both the fantasy and the reality and leave people broken and behind. It also shows the reality that the most deceptive, calculated, and elusive people that survive after the storm is passed. The illusions of love, grandeur, and innocence bled into every character’s life and blinds them and leaves them bare. The character most grounded in reality is eventually driven out by the spirit of illusion if the West and East Eggs after he sees the destruction it created.