Fitzgerald is eager to create the reader’s sensation of some mystery hidden in the fate of Gatsby, and this desire is certainly not dictated only by the requirements of the detective genre. It’s not about the lack of skillful writing of the main character.
The ambiguity, the “vagueness,” is in the very character of Gatsby. As A. Zverev rightly notes, “it is” vague “in fact, because in the soul of Gatsby, a conflict of two incompatible aspirations, two completely different beginnings unfolds. One of these principles is “naivety,” the simplicity of the heart, the glaring spark of the “green light,” the star of “the incredible future happiness” in which Gatsby believes with all his heart; the most typical features of the “new Adam”, grown by American history (and even more so by American social mythology).
The other is the sober mind accustomed to the insecure but lucrative game of the collar-bootlegger, who on his happiest day, when Daisy crosses the threshold of his house, gives instructions to the branches of his “firm” by phone. At one pole dreaminess, on the other – practicality and illegibility in the means, without which there would be no country mansion, or millions. At one pole naive purity of the heart, on the other – the worship of Wealth, Success, Opportunity, honoring those same fetishes that Gatsby himself so loathe in Tom Buchanan and the people of his circle “.
Great Gatsby Themes
The duality of the title character, in which the firm adherence to the ideal of the “new Adam,” trusting only the voice of the heart, is combined with the justification of amoralism in the struggle for worldly success, adds a tragic flavor to the image of this bootlegger, embodying the original contradiction of national consciousness.
The combination of such polar principles in the image of the hero, of course, can not but end in an “explosion”. And the death of Gatsby, at first impression ridiculous, in fact – a logical, the only possible final. The fact is that the means chosen by the hero to win happiness, as he imagines himself, are incapable of providing him with what he is. The “dream” collapses – not only because Daisy turns out to be corrupt, but also because the spiritual delusion of Gatsby himself, which “natural” happiness intended to win by dishonest, unnatural way, paid Daisy more than Buchanan’s sum and did not disdain anything , to collect it. And without the “dream” the existence of the “new Adam” is meaningless. The shot of the deceived auto mechanic, who was supposed to overtake Buchanan, but landed in Gatsby, is like a dagger blow, as in the Middle Ages, out of mercy, wounded the dying from wounds “.
A legitimate question arises: why then did Fitzgerald call his hero great? In the title of the novel they usually see the author’s irony. And at first glance this is so: Gatsby, a man clearly uncommon, lost himself in pursuit of an insignificant goal – wealth. His deity, Desi, whose feet his whole life is laid, is worthless and empty all the Gatsby paid “celebration of life” (carnival), which ends – after the hero’s death – by telephone conversation about shoes for tennis forgotten by one of the guests, and cursing, scratched on the stairs.
But in a sense, Gatsby is really great. He embodies the brightest type of American “dreamer”, although the “dream” leads him first to the dangerous path of bootlegging, then – in a completely alien nature of Tom Buchanan’s world and, finally, to disaster.
The narrator himself, Nick Carraway, for whom Gatsby embodied all controversial features before his acquaintance with him: the smugness of the nouveaux riches, the cult of tasteless luxury, etc., can not but admit to himself that Gatsby has “something truly magnificent.” “It must be,” he argues, “and in fact there was something romantic about this man, if the rumors that went about him were repeated in a whisper by even those who thought little of anything about speaking, having lowered the whisper”. The reason was not only the generosity of Gatsby, his efforts to brighten up the holidays with festivity.
When the narrator first sees Gatsby with his own eyes, he is in front of him a lover, a romantic, staring at the summer sky strewn with stars. “The second look” Gatsby clearly does not agree with the first, but at the same time, it was not without reason that Carraway thought that the rich neighbor is figuring out what piece of the sky to grab for one himself – such impulses are exactly the same in Gatsby’s nature, like dreaminess, romanticism , “Natural” for the “new Adam” kindness, “natural” for him the desire to make everyone happy. Therefore, the assessment of the image of Gatsby varies so much. “And then the smile disappeared – and in front of me was just a flaxen jumble, about thirty years old, with an almost ludicrous passion for refined speech” [Fitzgerald, 1985, 57]; “For this month I met Gatsby several times and, to my disappointment, I was convinced that there was nothing to talk with him about.