Yeah, we all knew this was coming. It’s exam season (I think) and undoubtedly across the West there are thousands, if not millions, of witless English Literature students preparing to regurgitate pseudo intellectual horseshit in a three page essay they have an hour to write in the hopes they can pass a seemingly desolate subject.
I studied English Literature for four years, from GCSE up until the final year of A-Level. I’m not a particularly bright student, in GCSE I was in the second lowest class- the lowest had students who were actually mentally disabled. Teachers never really tell you that you’re stupid, but when they assign you into groups like this it doesn’t take you long to figure out that the likelihood of you or anyone in your orbit of becoming the next Elon Musk was about as likely as Snoop Dogg curing Cancer.
I’m not smart, especially back then. I was abhorrent at Maths. Barely scientifically literate. Christ, I wasn’t even good at PE- I had to pretend my ingrown toenail was still infected to get out of classes in fifth year. Which, surprisingly, got me out of that weirdly homo-erotic class for about a year.
I was a man of very few talents. I thought I could draw (but I could not) so my options were growing thinner by the minute. There’s very little a clumsy, dumb ugly guy can do. But around the end of fourth year I found that I was pretty good at English. I’m a Writer, or as I like to say, I can write words real good.
English Literature is a remarkably easy subject for people who aren’t objectively moronic. All you have to do is follow orders. Read that, write that, squeeze that it, remember that- it was easy. For a long time I couldn’t understand why others struggled with the subject. It was literally talking shite in an academic setting.
It took me a while to realise that some people just lacked that kind of imagination. Now that’s not to say that these people are idiots, their skill set just relies some where else. You might not be great at Maths but you could be great at English, or if you suck at English you’re great at Art or Science or whatever.
At that point I realised that the way I had viewed the world through the level of intelligence via the ramifications of academia was incredibly flawed. Something both terrible and necessary happens in your late teenage years, when you realise that the world you inhabit is severely flawed- almost beyond justification.
That you were raised from an early age to believe that people who were in this higher group were somehow smarter than you and that you yourself were a moron in comparison, but the revelation showed you that their intelligence relied solely on the fact they could process words faster. That they could remember things better, that they once scored a high grade in a test once and that somehow elevated them into a seemingly impervious social class that you envied.
However it turns out, post revelation, that once you analyse these people that they are devoid of this Genius you perceived of them. They suffered from the same afflictions as you, only they thrived in this academic world as it was catered to people like them. But not to you. You had to find your own world and once you found it, you realise that their world is sick, twisted and ultimately- doomed.
I’m very critical of the current school system in the West (more exactly the UK, Ireland and America- ya’ll non-English speaking countries van go fuck yourself. And yes, you too Canada) but that’s an article for another time.
I first encountered Gatsby via the 2013 movie directed by Baz Luhrman (Basically Zach Snyder on Acid) and I have to say, I fucking loved it. Great acting, great visuals- everything in it seemed perfect. I hadn’t encountered a character like Gatsby before, this suave gentlemen who got shit done. A poor boy with an unbearably vivid imagination who found a way to climb to the top. It was the kind of character I wanted to be.
Or that’s what a fifteen year old version of myself wanted to be, Fitzgerald himself acknowledged that the character of Gatsby was absurd writing “he invented the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent” you don’t have a firm grasp or understanding of the world when you’re young. Gatsby’s naivety is partly why he’s able to maintain this boyish charm and unhealthy obsession with both wealth and a woman.
The Great Gatsby is one of those books that was better off in its movie adaptation than its original literary form. I genuinely believe that. Fitzgerald uses big words and long vivid descriptions mixed in with colours and themes all to hide the fact that outside of being able to write words real good, he wasn’t particularly bright.
His writing is somewhat passive aggressive. He based Gatsby and Nick Caraway (the protagonist) on himself while using the framework of his relationships with women on the two main female characters present throughout the novel. And of course there’s Tom Buchanan, a one dimensional jack-ass who probably bullied Fitzgerald in high school and is now doomed to be immortalised in arguably the greatest form of passive aggression known to man; American Literature.
I always found that mickey mouse moustache adorable.
The movie is superior to the book for a number of reasons. Firstly, it introduces Tom Buchanan in a more nuanced light. When you first meet him he’s friendly, charismatic- a little rough but in a well meaning way. Then as you are exposed to him for a longer period of time he drops some racist drivel to which you’re like “Oh, that’s uh…that’s kind of fucked up” and then you learn that he’s an adulterer.
And not just an adulterer, a bad one. He’s so inept at covering up his affairs he makes Zeus look like Woody Allen. At this point you’re pretty sure Tom is an ass-hole, but he’s nice to Nick and therefore nice to you. However the final nail in the coffin is revealed when Nick is at his love nest and Tom breaks his mistress’ nose- that’s when he becomes fully irredeemable. A seemingly nice guy turning into a villain purely by overexposure of his character.
In the book Tom makes his literal introduction by saying; “Now, don’t think my opinion on these matters are final…just because I’m stronger and more of a man than you” that’s grade A cunt material right there.
First thing he says condemns your perception of the character as a one dimensional villain- a bully without a cause. I was trying to imagine what kind of man this character was based off of. Originally I assumed it was some jock, or a series of jocks, that Fitzgerald went to school with. However when I found out that he and Hemingway were friends, I pondered whether or not the character was based off him as Hemingway was a raging ass-hole who would definitely say that.. The fact that Hemingway didn’t like the book supported the theory as he may have seen to much of himself in Buchannan.
However upon researching the novel I learned that the character was based off of two men. One was William Mitchell, a wealthy Chicagoan that would marry Scott’s former fiance Ginerva King- the similarities here are that both men are from Chicago and play polo. The second man was Ginerva’s father, whom Fitzgerald resented and was an avid white supremacist.
The culmination of these two men is why Fitzgerald writes Tom in such a grotesque manner. He has him go on these racist rants because he condemns these thoughts, however he was still partial to Racism since he refers to Black people as “Negroes” and in one instance “two bucks and a girl” that’s…problematic. But one of the more nuanced opinions of the early 20th century, seeing as anyone who didn’t want to restart the Civil War was seen as a “Moderate“.
However Fitzgerald inadvertently bases the character of Tom Buchannan on himself, as Scott was an adulterer and a cuck.
I don’t like that latter word, it’s used by weak and feeble men with an overt obsession with sex. But I can’t think of a better word. Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda cheated on him with a French sailor, it was one of the many motivators for the novel. That’s basically what the term Cuck means, a man who’s partner (mostly a female, I don’t know if Gay guys have a term for this) cheats on him. Or more vulgarly, it’s a man who likes to watch his wife get fucked by another man.
It’s been appropriated by dumb fuck conservatives who use it to mock people they perceive to be weak, or inconsistent politically. An example of this would be Ted Cruz. In the 2016 presidential campaign Donald Trump emasculated him (which was very fun to watch) and when the RNC came along Ted Cruz, for a brief shimmering moment, condemned him on live TV.
He appeared principled, a man of honour…that was until he had one meeting with the Mercers, who are the main funders of the Republican Party, and he quickly changed his tune. A man with no principles, no backbone- a Cuck.
The term is incredibly toxic. Mainly because it reinforces this idea that what defines a man is that he’s tough and fucks a lot of women- like all the time. Most people aren’t like that or they don’t understand the limitations. If you’re too tough you become an asshole who’s always looking for a fight, if you’re always chasing after women then it’s not too difficult to become a vehement misogynist. You shouldn’t define yourself by who you do, but by what you do.
Those who use the term unironically are deeply sad people with intimacy issues and most likely have zero contact with the opposite sex. They’re not necessarily deplorable, they’re just unfuckable. They have no intimate or fulfilling relationships in their lives, so they’re always chasing these moments of bliss. For these sad sacks of shit these moments occur when they get together with other like minded Unfuckables and engage in certain activities like a racist reddit thread or a march that ends up killing people- anything to give them a sense of belonging.
In a way Fitzgerald and Buchanan suffer from these same afflictions. Scott is a severe alcoholic, later in his life he became so unhealthy he couldn’t even climb a few flights of stairs so he had to move in with this gossip columnist he was having an affair with. The affair was triggered by an unhealthy marriage with one partner in a mental hospital, that lead Scott to seek temporary moments of bliss with another woman.
I don’t know if Tom is capable of love, or if he possesses too much love. Because remember, he cried when his mistress Myrtle died. He obviously had feelings for her she wasn’t just a side bitch. And he obviously loves Daisy- because why else would he refuse to get a divorce?
But Tom’s sex addiction is a problem. He’s a man past his prime and the only way he can get these insecurities hampered down is if he continuously chases after women for temporary bursts of bliss in an otherwise directionless and meaningless life. There are three types of guys in this world; Men, Boys and Dogs.
Men can be good or bad, but they reach a composure and maturity that is superior to the other two. They known their limitations, they have a fair grasp of self awareness and an understanding of the world around them. Boys are outlandish, naive, often petty, non-logical creatures. But given time they have the ability to become men.
Dogs can never become men. Their actions bare no reason or logic. It’s driven my emotion, they hunt and think with their dick. A man or a boy may do things because they’ve thought about it or they’re coerced into it by their situation to environment- there’s a reason, no matter how trivial, behind their actions. But their is no reason behind a Dog, a Dog does what it does simply because it is in it’s nature to do so.
You can’t hate a Dog, it’s doing what it’s been designed to do. To eat shit, to chase after cars, to tear a baby into shreds- there’s no sense in a Dog. That’s what Tom Buchanan is, a Dog.
The novel is a retrospective first person account of a jaded Nick Caraway, our protagonist and an unreliable narrator. This part of the analysis may seal Fitzgerald’s reputation as either the greatest writer of the 20th century or expose him to be the pseudo-intellectual hack I know him to be. That is the belief that Scott Fitzgerald deliberately wrote Nick in this vague and contradictory manner to suggest to the reader “…he’s hiding something from us” which can be seen in his inability to present the full relationship between Nick and Jordan or the fact that Nick may be engaged to a girl back west or that Nick had a relationship with the photographer he meets in chapter two.
The theory for the latter is that Nick refuses to disclose the relationship he had with a man named McKee, whether it be a close friendship or as a homosexual encounter. I was sceptical about Nick being Gay until I re-read the book recently and encountered that passage where Nick is standing beside Mr. McKee who is in his bed, half naked, showing him a photo album.
Now this quick jarring scene could just be Fitzgerald’s way of presenting Nick’s drunk faze after the party, where he left Tom’s love nest with this random guy and they’re hanging out until four in the morning. Or, it could allude to the fact Nick had sex with him and his standing beside the bed could show us his earnest attempt to leave after a drunken session of coitus.
If you’re excited at the possibility of Nick being Gay, it’s worth remembering that when it comes to F. Scott Fitzgerald that’s not necessarily a good thing. Fitzgerald genuinely believed that Homosexuality was triggered by emotional distress, in other words Gay guys are just mentally ill.
Now if you’re offended by that notion, don’t be. There’s no sense in getting upset over a dead guys opinion and, if it’ll cheer you up, Fitzgerald was a fucking moron. I mean outside of being able to write words real good Scott was oblivious to literally every other subject. He made Nick a bonds salesman even though he knows next to nothing about economics or finance, his description of a war torn France are abysmal, he’s historically illiterate- he doesn’t know anything.
So why the hell would he be smart enough to intentionally write Nick as an unreliable narrator? What is the possibility that Scott was too god damned lazy to write a succinct backstory for Nick? Hell, half the shit in here he writes down solely because it was something he saw in real life. That scene where Nick and Gatsby drove past these black people partying in a car? That happened. That scene where a car crashes outside of Gatsby’s and the driver is so drunk he doesn’t know he crashed? That happened. Every awkward line of dialogue that should have been brushed up by any decent editor? You better believe that happened.
So to understand Nick Caraway, or the more exactly- the Nick Caraway revisiting this morbid tale, you have to understand the emotional state of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ever since college he was a severe alcoholic, he was making little to no money, he was in this incredibly toxic environment and to make matters worse- his wife cheated on him. He’d grown disillusioned with the Jazz Age (a term he claimed to coin) the variety of life and hedonism repulsed his Mid West sensibilities. On top of that there was a class awareness, he grew up in an upper middle class family but the people he partied with made him look as poor as George Wilson, the mechanic married to Myrtle.
Fitzgerald’s disillusionment with the Jazz Age and the rich is emitted by Nick. Who at first is infatuated with New York and Gatsby’s parties, but after his turmoil grows ever more concerned with this debacle. That’s mainly what his relationship with Jordan represents, the fact that he’s half angry and half in love with her shows us that he, and subsequently Fitzgerald, is half angry and half in love with this crowd of delinquents- with these chaotic parties and with an enchanting but ultimately corrosive lifestyle.
Nick claims that he disapproved Gatsby from start to finish, but he holds him up on this pedestal that it’s almost a romanticised version of the real man. Gatsby isn’t the only one living in the past, Nick is too- as is Fitzgerald. Who wants to return to a better time in which his marriage didn’t suck and where his heavy drinking was seen as a quirk and not as a problem.
Now if there was ever a better excuse for a maximum wage and wealth redistribution, it is Daisy Buchanan. There’s something about excessive wealth that just ruins people. Guys who come from wealth are immature assholes who act like they don’t have glass jaws, while girls who come from money are borderline neurotic.
Poor people, particularly poor girls, aren’t like this. Sure they can be fucked up- but not that fucked up.
Daisy of course is a culmination of both Ginerva King (Fitzgerald’s former fiance, a socialite) and his wife Zelda- who was a crazy bitch. That’s not misogynistic, she literally had schizophrenia and was a shitty person- fucking Hemingway hated her as well.
Even went so far as to say that he believed Zelda kept getting Scott drunk so he wouldn’t write. Zelda told Scott she thought Hemingway was “a pansy with hair on his chest” so the distaste was mutual.
Ginerva refused to marry Scott cause he was too poor, choosing instead a guy from Chicago. Zelda also refused to marry Scott until he made enough money to support her lifestyle- so hence the unhealthy obsession with wealth and what it entails.
Any English student with a lick of sense will write about how Daisy represents the American Dream, how it is both unattainable and ultimately corrosive. That it is charming, but shallow. That it is simultaneously enthralling and depressing.
There’s a lot of imagery packed into this very short novel, that’s partly why it’s so heavily analysed in academia and why it’s taught in school. You’ll probably write about the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, about the yellow car and the various other yellow objects, about the gothic monstrosity that is Gatsby’s mansion- there’s plenty to pick from. But the most important piece of imagery I was completely oblivious to up until this recent re-reading
In the first chapter Nick arrives at West Egg, in a fairly shitty little house in-between mansions (symbolising Fitzgerald’s economic insecurities. He’s well to do, but not that well to do) he’s fairly lonely at first. But he’s eventually invited over to Daisy’s house, he sits through a bot of drama and Tom’s general assholeness. He learns that Tom is having an affair and that the woman calling at dinner is his mistress.
Now Daisy is desperate to distract herself from this since it obviously bothers her, so she talks about the butler’s nose. About how he worked for another family polishing their silverware, but over the time the polish odour was so overwhelming that he eventually lost his sense of smell and had to quit. After the story Daisy says something stupid about a rose and then rushes in to the house to confront Tom.
That comment about the butler’s nose seems redundant at first, but on closer inspection it means so much more than that. Daisy is inadvertently warning Nick to get out now. That he is the butler, his interactions with these people are like polishing spoons and that the environment is so toxic it will literally take something away from him. For the butler it was his sense of smell, for Nick it may be something more dire. The trivial little dialogue was an indirect warning to get out now while you’re still fully intact, that you don’t lose something of yourself.
We don’t meet Gatsby until chapter three and in the book it’s remarkably unimpressive. Nick is invited to attend one of his parties, when he arrives he finds that he’s literally the only one who’s actually received an invitation. Embarrassed he decides to get roaring drunk, runs into Jordan (character based off of a golfer who was friends with Ginerva, a woman Scott either fucked or wanted to fuck) and they start hanging out, listen to a few rumours and run into this weird old man in the library who may be God but we don’t know.
In the film Nick is walking around after dancing and runs into this nice southern guy who asks him how he’s feeling and they get into talking about the war, Nick asks where Gatsby is and the guy say’s “I’m Gatsby” and there’s fireworks and everything. In the book Nick is literally just sitting at a table talking to a guy, asks where Gatsby is and the guy is like “…I’m Gatsby“.
There’s a very awkward realism in this book, particularly in the way people talk to each other. At the end of the chapter Gatsby says goodnight to Nick three times, in chapter eight Nick bodes farewell to Gatsby by giving him a compliment- a great line to end the scene- but Scott had him say “Than’s for the Breakfast Gatsby!” which fucking ruins the rhythm of the scene- Hell, in the car ride in chapter seven Tom is going on this rant about how Gatsby never went to Oxford because he wears a pink suit and when Jordan responds he simply says “Oxford New Mexico, that’s more like it” it’s either Scott forgot about that line halfway through or he’s deliberately out to make Tom sound dumber than he is.
Dialogue is a lot like joke telling, it’s all about timing. If you wanted Tom to be sceptical of Gatsby’s education due to his attire you should have written in response to Jordan “Oxford New Mexico, he wears a pink suit for christ sake” like the movie does. God, for the life of me I can’t understand why any decent editor would let these lines fly.
So Gatsby has this elaborate plan to use Nick to get to his old flame Daisy so he can hook up with her and restart their life together. Like Scott and Zelda, Gatsby and Daisy met during the war. Gatsby was deployed but Scott wasn’t. When he got kicked out the army he was too poor to marry the girl so he had to make his fortune. Scott was lucky that he sold a few stories, it took three years for Gatsby to make his fortune selling bootleg alcohol.
If Tom is a Dog, Gatsby is a boy. Naive, obsessive, a little bit over the top and creepy. I mean sure you met a girl, fell in love but it didn’t work out- you move on from that. What you don’t do is obsess over it for five years and move right across the lake from her- that’s fucking weird. Though it does raise the question, how good at sex is Daisy? I mean Tom flat out refuses to divorce her and Gatsby literally puts his life on hold for her…she must be pretty damn good.
Now this obsession with Daisy raises the question about Gatsby’s true feelings, does he actually love her or does he love the idea of her?
For those unfamiliar with the latter concept, being in love with the idea of a person is typically associated with people going through crush phases or through a state of unrequited love. This concept really requires distance, like you might only see your crush once every day walking down the corridor at school but you’ll think about them a lot. The same with unrequited love (typically referred to as the friendzone) but it differs from the crush because you can talk to this person for hours on end, but you’ll never experience the kind of intimacy a romantic partner would by physically engaging them- it changes everything in a relationship.
So when these needs are not met, you start imagining as if they were. You imagine the person as you wish them to be, a person who could settle all of your insecurities- who could truly support you. The problem is by engaging in this hypothetical, you end up creating an entirely different person from whom you met. And if you ever did engage in a romantic relationship with, they will fall flat of your expectations because they are too flawed from the version of themselves that you imagined. That’s what being in love with the idea of a person means.
Gatsby is a little different from my example considering he actually fucked her (in the movie, not too sure about the book but lets say yes) but due to him being shipped off to war he was both physically and emotionally distant from her, so he had nothing but the idea of her to love and fixate over.
There’s the possibility that Gatsby never really loved her, but her money. If Daisy was poor but still nice he’d never be as interested as if she were rich. Because Gatsby worshipped wealth, he wanted in this secret club but even when he earned enough money he was still an outsider.
An example of that can be seen in chapter six, in which Nick and Gatsby encounter a party on horseback featuring Tom and two other rich cunts. One of them suggests to Nick and Gatsby that they come back to their house for a dinner party. Nick declines because he knows it was just an insincere pleasantry, but Gatsby accepts because he’s oblivious to this two faced, bitchy world he wants to be apart of.
Poor people aren’t rude like this. He just couldn’t understand these insincere social cues. Kanye West suffers from the same fault. In his interview with Charlamagne Tha God he talks about his interactions with Obama, how the first time he met him Obama told him that he was his favourite artist. But when he heard Obama refer to him as a jack ass in some pre-interview footage, he didn’t understand it. How could Obama be a fan and say such a mean thing?
He didn’t understand that Barack Obama was a politician, that he lies and that he will say anything to get you to like him. He’s probably never listened to a Kanye song in his life (I think Obama is more of a Soul and Blues fan than RnB or Rap) he just said that to be polite. It’s the same thing with Kanye and Mark Zuckerberg, they were at some event once and got talking about making some projects.
Kanye didn’t understand that Mark was just saying that stuff just to make the dinner go easy. See, his main problem is that he can’t differentiate between real talk and pub talk. The latter refers to conversations, particularly with strangers or associates but also friends, in which you talk enthusiastically about a subject or a project that you could collaborate on- but it will never go to fruition.
This happens when you got to a pub, get a few pints in you and suddenly become more social- you start talking to strangers enthusiastically as if they were close friends and you’re like “Oh my God we should go on holiday together!” but the following morning the two of you will literally cross the street to avoid one another. It’s a common symptom of alcohol and drugs, hence the term Pub talk.
Real Talk requires both participants to be full committed to the relationship they are in. Whether it be a professional business relationship, a friendship or a relationship. Like if you say to a person who you know would back you up on a project “Here, let’s start a business” there’s a good chance they’re actually going to help you develop that project. Real talk requires trust, but to differentiate between real talk and pub talk requires experience.
Kanye is either incapable of differentiating the two or he just hasn’t experienced the difference, neither has Gatsby.
The plot in Gatsby is interesting since it doesn’t really have a distinct plot. It’s as careless as the characters that inhabit the pages. The book starts out with a disgruntled Nick recalling his Summer at West Egg, where he went to dinner with Tom and Daisy. Where he met Jordan, engaged in a weird relationship with a woman he simultaneously was enchanted and repelled by.
For some unknown reason he thinks it’s a good idea to hang out with Tom, meets his mistress (even though he has no interest in meeting her) and gets roaring drunk at their love nest- a party which ends in violence. He goes to Gatsby’s party, engages in some slabbering, meets Gatsby, starts hanging out with Gatsby and Jordan, reintroduces Gatsby and Daisy and becomes the most notorious third wheel in American literature (I genuinely think Gatsby and Daisy get off on Nick being a witness to their adultery) we learn Gatsby’s origin story alongside Daisy’s background, another somewhat aggressive party at Gatsby’s which is followed by a fight at Tom Buchanan’s hotel room which leads to the manslaughter of Myrtle Wilson and thus the murder of Gatsby.
That’s basically the book.
The confrontation at Tom’s hotel room has always been poorly portrayed on film. In DiCaprio’s movie he literally tries to hit Tom while in John Redford’s movie he form’s a fist and does a creepy smile (Seriously, John Redford’s Gatsby is a fucking serial killer) in actuality Tom says a lot of things and Gatsby looks ashamed, which thus breaks Daisy’s heart because she cannot love a monster. Or at least not two monsters.
Fitzgerald at one point referred to himself as a Communist, but he never really understood poor people. George Wilson is one dimensional, as is Myrtle. Scott either lacks the experience, the imagination or the empathy to get the voice of anyone below upper middle class. It’s suggested that Nick sounds snobbish because it was deliberate, but there’s also the chance that this is just what F. Scott Fitzgerald genuinely believes about poor people, about black people- about Jews.
Holy Christ, I didn’t even talk about the moderate antisemitism in this book. Fitzgerald keeps referring to Meyer Wolfsheim by his physical features “his tragic nose trembled” and then Nick mocks his accent and then there’s the part where he refers to a Jewish woman as a “Jewess“. What is it with classical literature and Antisemitism? Wilde and Hemingway had the same issues with Jews as well. It’s fucked up.
But the funniest part of this whole debacle is this reference that didn’t age too well. There’s a scene at the end of the book where Nick visits Wolfsheim and his building is called “The Swastika Holding Company” oooh, that didn’t age well. Apparently the Swastika is a Hindu symbol that meant ushered wealth and good fortune- y’know, before it got appropriated by some of the most evil men to ever walk the earth.
In chapter seven Gatsby says an interesting thing. When Nick is talking about how insincere and hyperbolic Daisy can be, Gatsby concludes that “Her voice is full of money” it’s the secret of her charm and her neuroticism, it’s the foundation of her character- it’s everything she is.
That line wasn’t included in DiCaprio’s movie, because the director didn’t see the point in having Gatsby acknowledge this fatal flaw and yet continue to love her. The truth is there is no sense in loving Daisy, that is the tragedy of Gatsby. At first he wants Daisy because of her money and charm, but after five years he wants her because he loves her, but upon meeting her he wants her to break off with Tom- but not only break off with him, but tell him that she never loved him- that she only loved Gatsby.
But that would never be enough for Gatsby. He would always want her to do things that she is incapable of doing. He’s in love with the idea, not the person that is Daisy. I think he realises that when he admits her fatal flaw, But the reason why he’s unable to give up his pursuit is due to the sunk cost fallacy. In which if you put so much time and resources into this one thing, even though it’s been debunked, you’ll still believe it- because you’ve wasted so much time on it.
It’s kind of like that scene in the Last Crusade where Indiana Jones is on the edge of a cavern trying to reach for the Chalice. He knows that he can’t reach it, because his Nazi girlfriend was in the same predicament not five seconds earlier, but he’s gone through so much shit to get it that he can’t just let it go. It takes an extreme amount of will to let go of something like that. Gatsby just can’t let go of Daisy.
In conclusion, the Great Gatsby is not the Great American Novel. That title belongs to, in my humble opinion, John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” as it focuses more on real America. However I will concede that the Great Gatsby is the Great American Tragedy. For a multiple of reasons; Gatsby’s tragic end, his tragic flaw, and the fact that the real tragedy of Gatsby is that he wanted to be Great- but he was not.
The only one who considers Jay Gatsby to be great is Nick Caraway, and that is more of an indictment on Nick than it is on a praise of Gatsby. Nick went to New York to earn something for himself, but he ended up losing something of himself. He lost friends, he lost a love interest, he lost his optimism and naivety. He lost a great deal, that’s why he and Gatsby seem to insist on reclaiming the past- so that they can regain something they had already lost, forever.