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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the narrator, Nick Carraway, tells the story ofhis infamous neighbor, Gatsby, who threw nightly extravagant parties in attempt to attract hislover. The only flaw in that mindset was that the woman, Daisy, was married. He desperatelyovercame obstacles to win her heart back but failed at last. Nostalgia is depicted as dangerousbecause if you focus on the past you cannot live in the present, as Gatsby did.
The novel centers around the tensions between Gatsbyand Daisy. The main reason why he decided to situate himself on West Egg was because hecould oversee see her house on East Egg. He was so blinded by love to a point that he wouldtrade his life in to catch a glimpse of her, even if it were just for a moment. He firmly believedthat the past could be recreated, and everything would be ‘normal’ again despite all those yearsapart. He transformed himself into someone worth her status, to show her how far he had come. However, he wanted their relationship to remain exactly same and pick it up from where they leftoff. His theory of her waiting and closing herself off from love until his reappearance was afoolish fantasy. He knew she had a new family without him, but he refused to believe it. Hechased a dream that ultimately led to his downfall. After years of living across on the other sidefrom Daisy, Gatsby finally found a personwho was in direct contact with his Daisyher—Jordan Baker. At Nick’s first party, he requested to‘speak to her alone’ (50). The long-awaited moment arrived, which was his first step in2Leungattempting to contact Daisy. Soon after, he became anxious, obsessed even.
In Chapter 4, it ismentioned that he once ‘““half expected her to wander into one of his parties”’” (79). He thoughtshe would show up at his doorstep and leap into his open arms. The image shattered, she neverappeared, but he never stopped trying. Further down in the passage, Gatsby had indirectly askedNick to invite Daisy to his house so Gatsby could pop over. Gatsby expected the meeting to bemagical, as if fireworks were exploding among them. He pictured their reunion millions of timesand even though the beginning seemed awkward, they made up and loved each other again. Gatsby almost got what he wished for. Nevertheless, the situation did not turn out as hehad hoped. In fact, he ruined all his chances with his ‘goddess’ because of one stupid mistake.
InChapter 7, Gatsby urged Daisy to proclaim her indifference for her husband. He wanted Daisy tosay that she ‘“never loved him’,,” which caused a huge conflict. He desired Daisy all to himselfand became too controlling. The thought of Daisy loving another man made him delusional andhe firmly believed that every single part of her was his. Reliving the past immobilized his abilityto consider the present that Daisy could only give him half her heart. But he wanted more. Following the accident, he remained outside the Buchanan’s house until long after midnight tokeep watch for her. He did nothing and just stood there, showing that he was insignificant to heralready. Wistfulness did not only occur to Gatsby, but to Daisy as well. Her longing of the pastnearly destroyed her marriage with Tom Buchanan, though his infidelity also had its owndamages. When Gatsby brought Daisy and Nick to his room, she cried drastically when shetouched his shirts. All the memories suddenly started to pour in and she remembered all theirjoyous times together.
The man she loved was right in front of her and there was nothing shecould do about it. Both sides wished they could relive everything, settle down together and love3Leungone another for the rest of their lives. But it was virtually impossible. They had their own livesthat molded them into completely different persons and forcing out of the mold broke them apart. Society already had a plan for them, and they were powerless against it.
Their nostalgia was unable to help the two deal with reality—their greatest enemy thatresulted in the pitiful tragedy. The setting also implied the strong connection to the past. Two places that exemplify thereformation of older days were Gatsby’s chateau and Tom’s mistress, Myrtle’s New Yorka Apartment. They both include early architectural styles that do not quite fit within the age of theroaring twenties. The premodern design suggests the holding onto what already happened, notbeing able to move forward. This resonates with the theme of the book that the past was alwayswith you. Gatsby’s mansion was constructed to replicate French estates. It towered over Nick’scomparatively modest house like a giraffe. He cleverly covered up the old design by hostingcountless contemporary parties so people would not realize how he copied others. Instead, all theguests did was marvel at the grandeur of his marvelous residence. Gatsby was inspired by hisancestor’s sophisticated architypes that he decided to rip it off them. With even the place heresided in having some sort of influence to the past, it adds to the impression that he was anoutdated man who dwelled on reminiscences. Myrtle’s New York apartment was her home away from home. She spent her time therewith Tom scandalously, and yet having no shame. Based on her status, she did not deserve any ofNew York, because her husband was an ordinary man from the Valley of Ashes. However,kindling romance with Tom allowed her to step outside her comfort zone,. she She pretended tobe someone she was not, someone who was far beyond what she was. Fitzgerald slyly included4Leunghints of history in her apartment as well. Except for a picture of her mother hanging on the wall,the rest of the decoration included furniture sprawled all around.
They took up a vast amount ofspace in her tiny apartment. The chairs were tapestried with French women in ‘the gardens ofVersailles’ (29). Moving down the social ladder, from Gatsby to Myrtle, they all longed for thepast. It is shown from their styles that have not seemed to change from whoever preceded them. Perhaps because of happier memories or because the present was too hard to endure, they’drather focus their attention on the days before. When living in the present, one should enjoy the moments while it lasts. Dwelling on thepast like many of the characters in The Great Gatsby would not benefit anyone because all itdoes is harm, making the present unlivable.
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