Atticism In The Great Gatsby

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The themes of The Great Gatsby are presented by Fitzgerald in a style that finds them to be both intertwined and individually prominent through the use of poetic language and composition of the narrative arc. One of the most central of these themes, that of “dreams” (or perhaps more accurately, hopes and desires), is the driving force of the book in that the characters’ motivations are, to a large degree, centred around their hopes and dreams. In The Day of the Locust, West uses this theme in much the same capacity, though with much more transparent methods of representation and not quite as much atticism. They wrote in much different settings, both temporally and geographically: Fitzgerald’s work was finished before the Great Depression began,…show more content…
Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, and her husband both possess dreams. Myrtle wants to have a life above the mediocrity of that which she possesses living with her mechanic husband, while an unaware Wilson has more modest desires of making a better living, exemplified by his intense interest in purchasing a car from Tom. While Wilson could be considered a victim of circumstance, Both Myrtle and her husband are ultimately doomed by the selfishness of the dreams of Myrtle and Tom- Tom, who is looking for the hedonistic thrill of his college days, and Myrtle who has similar desires of grandeur and high living that can be given to her by Tom’s money. Throughout what the reader sees of the affair between Tom and Myrtle, Fitzgerald uses language which suggests an air of careless indulgence from Tom but restrained excitement from Myrtle: “Tom brought out a bottle of whiskey from a locked bureau drawer...sitting on Tom’s lap [Myrtle] called up several people on the telephone”; later, Myrtle relishes in the seeming realisation of her dream to be living in wealth and carelessness, however temporarily: “the intense vitality… was converted into impressive hauteur… the room grew smaller around her”. This metaphor not only evokes ideas of dreams being realised, but also of the corruption of something that was once, perhaps, more…show more content…
Without Gatsby’s dream of reuniting with Daisy, and his hope that she will be with him as if five years had not passed at all, there would be no narrative to The Great Gatsby. The way that Fitzgerald presents Gatsby’s dream is most prominently important when Tom is shown to be a threat to its realisation: “He wanted nothing less of Daisy that she should go to Tom and say: ‘I never loved you’”. Gatsby’s desire is not only for Daisy to be with him, but for her to “obliterate four years”- in short, he wants his dream realised just as he imagined it when he first met Daisy, and refuses to settle for any lesser victory. His dream is so much a part of the persona he created for himself that his goal can only be one thing: “‘I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before’”. The importance of this to him is clear, and Fitzgerald highlights it during Gatsby’s confrontation with Tom: “‘You don’t understand,’ said Gatsby, with a touch of panic”. It is the first point in Gatsby’s interaction with Tom in which he shows any sign of uncertainty- “panic”- that Daisy will choose him over Tom. The dream so carefully cultivated in Gatsby’s mind is beginning to wilt under the glare of Tom’s insistence and Daisy’s panicked uncertainty, mirroring the physical heat in the scene (muffled and suffocating chords were drifting up on hot waves of air). When the

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