The Great Gatsby Essay

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QUESTION: "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made." How did Tom and Daisy exemplify the quote and what were the consequences of their actions?

The Great Gatsby is a highly symbolic reflection on America in the 1920s, but mainly focuses on the disintegration of what the American dream was in an era of untold wealth and prosperity. Fitzgerald portrays the 1920s era as an era of corrupted social and moral values--which is shown in its overwhelming cynicism, greed, and empty pursuit of pleasure. The reckless joyfulness that led to decadent parties and wild jazz music--embodied in The Great Gatsby by the extravagant parties Gatsby throws every Saturday night--ultimately caused the corruption of the American dream, as money and pleasure became more important than moral values and noble goals. Throughout the novel, The Great Gatsby, many characters played their roles as either using another person or people, or being used by people. Tom and Daisy are guilty of being users in this novel. Nick, George Wilson, Myrtle Wilson are all victims of being used by others while Gatsby seems to fits into both of these categories. A line that exemplifies what they lived for is taken from a quote by Nick Carraway, the narrator--it states, "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made" (Page 181). This line states that it was their wealth that gave them this ability to walk all over people.

Tom Buchanon was Daisy's wealthy husband who had a high school legacy as a lineman in college. He was powerfully built and coming from a socially solid old family and was an arrogant, hypocritical bully. His social behavior is formed around racism and sexism and doesn't even try to live up to the moral standards demands from everyone else. He feels no uneasiness about the affair he's having with Myrtle, but when he thinks Daisy and Gatsby are having one he goes crazy and starts trouble. We can see he's a very dominant character throughout the story, who seemed to always get what he wanted and walked all over everyone for the most part. Even his description by Fitzgerald exemplifies his dominating character, "Two shining arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always leaning aggressively forward" (Page 7). This is the description of a man who will not take no for an answer and will almost always pull through victorious in any feat .He used George Wilson in a very rude fashion. Tom used George to get to his wife Myrtle, who gave him the sense of vitality that he longed for, the sense of vitality that Daisy just could not give him. Tom pretends to be an ally of George Wilson yet states that "He's so dumb he doesn't know he's alive" (Page 26). This exhibits that Tom only used George, the "dumb one", in order to get to Myrtle (George's wife).

And not only did Tom use George Wilson, he also used Jay Gatsby as well. Tom knew that he did not want another man taking his wife--he felt that he wasn't going to let any man play him for a fool. So he made a devious plan to rid Gatsby from Daisy's life. He purposely took Gatsby's car to Wilson's garage so Myrtle would see it and think that it was Tom's new car. Hence, on the way back she would try to get Tom's attention and somehow leave George. What she did not know was that it was Gatsby's car and that Gatsby and Daisy, the driver, had no idea who she was. Myrtle was hit by the car and killed. This put George in a furious rage. He planned to find the owner of the car and kill them. He thought that Tom was his friend, however, Tom was just using him and his fling with Myrtle...
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