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Carelessness in the Great Gatsby

By suthens Jul 28, 2008 1376 Words
Being careless can be defined as not showing or receiving care. The tendency to be careless is a quality that exists within human beings. It is possible to be careless about yourself and/or others. While too much care can be a problem, too little care can also prove to be hazardous. There is no defined amount of a care needed for a person. The amount of care we need is an amount unique to all of us. Problems can arise when you show an extreme amount of care towards others as well as yourself. When you show too much care towards yourself, you may become selfish. When you show too little care towards yourself, you may become careless. In the end of the third chapter of the story The Great Gatsby, Jordan Baker and Nick Carraway are implied as careless. We, as human beings, live a certain lifestyle based on a variety of activities such as career, family, friends, culture, and social status. Some activities are done subconsciously, while others require a lot of time and effort. The failure to take the required care in such activities causes accidents. Accidents can be self-destructive and/or destructive to others as well. In The Great Gatsby, Jordan’s carelessness in driving leads to a near collision with a pedestrian. Such an accident could have resulted in Jordan being suspended from driving. Jordan’s statement “It takes two to make an accident,” represents her careless attitude. However, her near-collision with a pedestrian proves that one person can cause an accident. This is because if she collided with the pedestrian the accident would have been her fault. The pedestrian would have likely been hit because of the short reaction time to move out of the way. Not only would Jordan suffer from a serious punishment, but the pedestrian would likely be at least physically injured in some form. Thus, all decisions must be taken with care regardless of the task being done. In one’s profession, the need for care in the decisions he/she faces is vital. Thus, Jordan’s decision to cheat to win the golf tournament without thinking of the consequences nearly led to a scandal. If the fact that she cheated was revealed to higher authorities, her golf career would have ended. She also would have been labelled as a dishonest person. If the full consequences of her actions of her near-collision and revelation of her underhand tactics in golf were faced, her life would have been severely altered. She, like anyone else, cannot expect to avoid the full consequence of her actions all the time. In life, the relationships a person is associated with have a great impact on a person’s present and future. The impact can be positive or negative depending on whether the people in the relationship get along. The impact can also be large or small depending on the intimacy of those in the relationship. Male-female love relationships tend to have a large impact in the lives of each other. Therefore, it is essential for people to take extreme care when engaging and disengaging themselves in such relationships. In The Great Gatsby, Jordan admits her love to Nick. Meanwhile, Nick has is ambivalent towards Jordan. While Nick detests her dishonesty in everything she does, Nick likes her for her liveliness. This is because a relationship with Jordan would get rid of the loneliness he faces when he is at home. Nick’s attraction to Jordan’s energy represents his quick adaptation to the vigorous style of New York. The fact that Nick views Jordan as a dishonest person shows that he does not trust her word. This is not a good thing to have in a relationship because in a love relationship both of the male and female must be able to trust each other. Nick’s statement that he is the most honest person he knows is false because Nick is not being honest to his girlfriend (who he writes love letters to) by engaging in a relationship with Jordan. It is not good to be in a relationship where both the male and female are known to be dishonest. Therefore, Nick’s decision to be in a relationship with Jordan exposes his poor ability to visualize the consequences of being involved in an unhealthy relationship. The act of leaving a relationship or breaking up from a relationship must be done carefully and tactfully. Nick’s lack of thought in breaking his relationship with his girlfriend (he writes letters to) shows that he is not very considerate of the feelings of the ones who are in a relationship with him. Hence, one can conclude that Nick is mediocre in dealing with relationships. Similar to males, it is necessary that females need to take extreme care when engaging in a male-female love relationship. To love someone, it is likely that you need to know them very well. Therefore, the decision to engage in a relationship is not an ‘act first and think later’ type of decision. The decision to be in a relationship with someone is a ‘think first and act later’ type of decision. Loving a person without knowing their true nature can lead to being hurt emotionally. In The Great Gatsby, Jordan Baker carelessly falls in love with Nick. She does not realize the fact that Nick thinks she is very dishonest. She does not know that Nick already has a girlfriend who he writes love letters to. She believes that Nick is very careful and will take good care of her. However, the fact that Nick was able to let go of one relationship just to go to another in a short amount of time proves the opposite. She also does not know that Nick only likes her for the liveliness she brings into his life. Once Nick becomes bored of Jordan, she will become unattractive to him. In conclusion, the lack of knowledge Jordan has about Nick represents her carelessness. Jordan’s carelessness is shown symbolically through her near-collision with the pedestrian. Cars (at the time) were an extremely expensive item to have. Having a car represented the fact that the driver of the car was very rich. It also represented their high social status. Symbolically, the car represents the type of life Jordan has. Jordan is a person who is able to make a living out of the activity she likes to do; golf. As a talented golfer, Jordan is able to make a lot of money through her profession. Through her golf championship, she is able to gain popularity and a high social status. The fact that Jordan is the driver of the car represents that she is the one who controls her life. Hence, her careless driving symbolizes the careless decisions she has taken during her lifetime. If she had actually hit the pedestrian, she would have been punished by a suspension of license and/or criminal charges depending on the severity of the damage to the pedestrian. Therefore, the near-collision represents the punishments that could have taken away her control in her life. It also symbolizes the author’s message that some careless decisions can end up ruining your life. It is ironic that Jordan does not like careless people. This is because she falls in love with a person who is careless with the handling of relationships. Through the actions of Jordan and the symbolization of her near-collision, one can conclude that it is necessary to truly know a person before falling in love with them. Falling in love with a person who you don’t know is a careless decision that can have major consequences. As shown, carelessness is a characteristic that is usually not desired in human beings. Being careless is not something that cannot change. This is for the reason that carelessness is the act of being lazy and not taking the required care in a decision. It is possible to be careless in some aspects of life, while being very careful in other aspects of life (like Nick). It is very important to take the care necessary in any decision whether it concerns your daily activities or relationships.

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