F. Scott Fitzgerald once stated that the test of a first rate intelligence was the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. This intelligence he describes is characterized by the principle of “double vision.” An understanding of this is essential to the understanding of Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. “Double vision” denotes two ways of seeing; it suggests two things in opposition. The foundation of double vision is polarity, the setting of extremes against one another, which results in dramatic tension. For example, Fitzgerald utilizes a double vision motif with money to illustrate how it can be positive and constructive, but at the same time it can be very negative and destructive. In the following essay, I will illustrate the idea of double vision, in three of the main characters: Jay Gatsby, Tom Buchanan, and Daisy Buchanan. Towards this end, I will show how Fitzgerald uses this artistic devise in his depiction of each of these protagonists by having positive (i.e. glamorous, romantic, and exciting) aspects of their character juxtaposed with negative (i.e. crude, corrupt and disgusting) facets of personalities.
Jay Gatsby, the main protagonist, has almost everything a person can dream for. He lives in a huge ornate mansion; he owns a Rolls Royce and a Hydroplane. He wears custom made clothing from Europe made out of 100% silk. He has servants, gardeners, and chauffeurs to carry out his every whim. Lastly, but probably the most extravagant of all, he frequently hosts enormously lavish parties for his hundreds of guests. To attend one of Gatsby's parties is to be accepted into the jet set. Gatsby's generosity is legendary as he will provide anything the party goers need. For example, his guest Lucille states: "When I was here last I tore my gown on a chair, and he asked me my name and address- inside of a week I got a package from Croirier's with a new evening gown inside it"...
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