Gatsby Closing Lines

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“‘Can’t repeat the past?’ [Gatsby] cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’“ In so much as two lines the novel was born with one of its main themes – the vast obsession with the past and the failure to accept that it is, contrary to what Gatsby says, impossible to recreate. As the novel concludes, Nick reflects, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” In some instances, “beating against the current” is considered a positive quality; an optimistic life-force that compels us all to battle our fate with sheer will. However, Nick seems to note that this battle is lost long before it is fought, that fatalism is a better way to live. All things considered, the significance and importance of our past ultimately defines our dreams of the future, yet we are inherently tied to the past and cannot transform our dreams to reality. Gatsby’s fatal flaw was his profound refusal at accepting the past and undoubtedly, his profound refusal at accepting who he is. From the get go Gatsby acquired an intense hatred for poverty – after attending St. Olaf’s College for two weeks he dropped out because he could not deal with the janitorial job that he was paying his tuition with. Following his falling in love with Daisy, his motivation to become wealthy increased, and after Daisy’s marriage to Tom his motivation only multiplied from there. So began his dedication to winning Daisy back, the beginning of beating against the current he should have simply let carry him. Gatsby completely disregards the fact that despite the past they had together, Daisy has lived a completely different life than when they first met. He is stuck in this cynical past where him and Daisy never parted, a non-existing reality in which she never stopped loving him. He attributes this fantasy to the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, with his mansion across the lake it had always been just out of grasp, merely something to admire and dream of from afar....
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