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The Great Gatsby Gatsby is Americas final lover. He is also, with Tom, her ultimate destroyer. He is America herself. Gatsby's transcendental ization of reality and Toms materialization of it mirror each other. For Tom, as for Gatsby, Daisy is the virgin whore (he slaps Myrtle across the face when she mentions her name), but when Daisy is the virgin for Tom she is the whore for Gatsby. Tom and Gatsby (and with them, Wilson) conspire in Americas self-destruction.
In contrast to Tom, Gatsby lives in the new age of machines. He prefers cars and hydroplanes to ponies and sailing as he prefers modern girls to the traditional one. He enjoys and welcomes the new and inventive, yet most of all when it is linked to the old world as is his experimentation with older masculine roles. Although his cream colored car becomes the yellow death car Gatsby's inner being, like its green interior, remains pure and inviolate.
At his lovers request Gatsby too shrinks from life ends his parties, dismisses his servants, and becomes secluded in his home. His regressive deterioration is symptomatic of his civilizations, but unlike Tom he is not a major contributor to but a helpless victim of the social and cultural decline. When Tom Buchanan sets out to destroy Gatsby, he strikes to the core of Gatsby's being: his compositional sense of time and space. Facing off in the New York hotel room, Gatsby and Buchanan aim their first attacks at each others weaknesses.
Jay forces Daisy to say she never loved Tom. Tom demands. I cant help whats past, Daisy sobs to Gatsby. I did love him once but I loved you too. Seeing Gatsby's idealism weaken in the face of times reality, Buchanan interrupts.
Why theyre things between Daisy and me that youll never know, things that neither of us can ever forget. Tom has found a point of weakness, part of the makeup of Gatsby's soul. All that remains is Gatsby's spatial substance, the sources of his wealth and character. Gatsby embodies the beginning and end of this romantic process; his antagonist, Tom Buchanan, the kingdom of force.
Such physical force becomes a trope in the novel for the New America. Tom and Daisy in contrast to Gatsby were careless people. Without this ability to see persons, ourselves included, both as they see themselves and as others do, no morality beyond an unthinking following of possibly worse than-useless rules seems possible. By contrast, Gatsby seems godly. In Gatsby's case, the ogre who snatches his bride away is Tom Buchanan. Tom is described as a domineering, aggressive tyrant who has supercilious manners and a powerful.
He is the ogre who abducts Gatsby's goddess. By skipping over Gatsby's progress through the process of pecuniary emulation (American social climbing), whereby he is enabled to emulate Tom, The Great Gatsby focuses on Buchanan's weakness as a model. Among Toms exploits are triumphs in football and poland, of course, the capture of Daisy. Tom, however, has inherited his money; he has not even the achievements of pecuniary emulation to his credit; presumably, he is very like his father; and as a result, he and his kind are in danger of dying out. At Gatsby's party, everyone is well dressed, many are beautiful, and some are famous. Gatsby, the magician, is appropriately mysterious, but the rumors about his business exploits all contain an element of dangerous illegality or outright violence.
Gatsby has already succeeded in inspiring fear, as does Tom; both men derive this quality of threat partly from their wealth. In Gatsby's case, in contrast to Tom, it may also come from a sense of the violence hes done to himself to attain such a gorgeous imitation; a fearful strength of will must have been required to raise him so high from an obscure background. Tom and Gatsby both seek moments lost in the past. Gatsby embodies the power of belief.
He extends it to others, and he exists only insofar as they extend it to him. Belief, as I have repeatedly said, does not require evidence or proof or referent or origin. Gatsby embodies the beginning and end of this romantic process; his antagonist, Tom Buchanan, the kingdom of force. Such physical force becomes a trope in the novel for the New America.
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