“There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” (Fitzgerald 39) Can parties, dancing, and living a wealthy elite lifestyle provide true happiness? The book, “The Great Gatsby,” takes place during the jazz age in the 1920s and primarily describes the lives of the rich as well as the poor during that time. The Great Gatsby tells the story of a man who tries to escape his lonely past by creating a new future for himself to pursue his dreams; however, Gatsby’s heart for a woman is what brings about his downfall.
Gatsby is obsessed with taking control of his past. His first appearance in the book is very anti-climatic as he is depicted as just another guest at the party before it is revealed that he is actually the ‘Great Gatsby.’ He plans these parties to help fill a void in his heart. Gatsby is ever searching for something, this something being his lover: Daisy. He throws lavish parties in hopes that she will attend one of them. Previously, Gatsby loses Daisy because he cannot financially support her. After leaving Gatsby, Daisy then marries Tom Buchanan and moves with him to East Egg an elite area of town. “’It was a strange coincidence,’ I said. ‘But it wasn’t a coincidence at all.’ ‘Why not?’ ‘Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay’” (Fitzgerald 78). Gatsby moves specifically so he can be closer to her. His way of escaping the past is by attempting to win Daisy over again. “’I wouldn’t ask too much of her,’ I ventured. ‘You can’t repeat the past.’ ‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’ (Fitzgerald 110). He wants to repeat the past by falling in love with Daisy all over again.
Gatsby creates a new future for himself by trying to control his future. His obsession with control is partly due to his childhood. His parents were a poor working class family and he did not have much control over the direction of his life. In his early life, Gatsby is probably pretty lonely and since his family is extremely poor, he doesn’t envision much of a future. As a result, he enlists in the army during WWI in hopes of a different life. However, he experiences war, which is a very sad and lonely place that no man should have to experience. Now, in order to better control his future, he finds wealth in boot legging and organized crime. Hence, he spends his time throwing lavish parties. He is more of an observer than a participant. He rarely gets involved in his own parties, except when he dances with Daisy. He would rather watch and observe from afar than actually get involved. Ultimately, he feels that since he lost Daisy years ago, he has to win her back again.
As previously stated, Daisy is his main driving force in life and his dream is his longing to be with her. Throughout the summer, the affair between Daisy and Gatsby grows; much to her husband Tom’s dismay. Gatsby longs to be with her and only her. In order to get revenge, Tom invites Gatsby, Nick, Daisy, and Jordan to travel into town. Tom suggests that Gatsby and Daisy drive his car while he, Nick, and Jordan drive Gatsby’s car. On their way back from town, Daisy and Gatsby ride in his own car. While Daisy is driving, she accidentally hits and kills Myrtle, Tom’s mistress. However, she does not stop and she continues driving. In a last attempt to win Daisy over, Gatsby says that he will take the blame for Myrtle’s death. Gatsby takes the blame and Myrtle’s husband, Wilson, takes it upon himself to track down the person who has killed his wife. He tracks down Gatsby, shoots him by his pool, then turns the gun on himself and commits suicide. “It was after we started with Gatsby toward the house that the gardener saw Wilson’s body a little way off in the grass, and the holocaust was complete” (Fitzgerald 162).
The Great Gatsby tells the story of a man who tries to escape his lonely past by creating a new future for himself to pursue his dreams; however, Gatsby’s heart for a woman is what brings about his downfall. Gatsby’s main goal in his life is Daisy; everything he does is for her. He sacrifices his life more or less, for Daisy, much like what Jesus did for all of mankind. She ultimately fills his void. At least that is what Gatsby died believing; that he had found his true happiness. Without Daisy in his life, Gatsby would have lived out his lonely life in West Egg, throwing pointless parties in hopes to fill a void in his life.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner, 2004.