Theme Of Obsession In The Great Gatsby

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Everyone who has ever lived in the world has ended up dead. Six feet under, no longer breathing. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Herman Melville's Moby Dick, the two main characters Jay Gatsby and Captain Ahab respectively, are obsessed on a single unattainable entity that leads them to their eventual demise. Gatsby's obsession is driven through his love for Daisy, who has a husband. Captain Ahab is obsessed with seeking revenge on the great white whale Moby Dick for dismantling his leg from him during a battle at sea. For both, their obsessions take over their lives and which causes a fixation to attain their needs. The obsessions of both Ahab and Gatsby are representative of the materialism and conceitedness of the human race,…show more content…
At this time in America, the younger population was going through a time of putting everything they had into the slim chance of becoming rich and this lifestyle is still prevalent in society today. Gatsby represents this part of society through his obsession with Daisy. This obsession is symbolic of this new sect of Americas obsession with attaining a new wealth, which Gatsby embodies. Along with Gatsby himself, the people who attend Gatsby's parties represent this as well. They were "groups…swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath" which is representative of many of these people trying to gain this new wealth while many were failing simultaneously (Fitzgerald 40). Alike Gatsby, these people have an obsession for attaining this wealth and success, but for the most part it is unrealistic. This embodies the ideology of the competitive nature of society and the human race's constant want to boost their status. Also in The Great Gatsby, it is clear that social status does is not based on the worth of people based on their character and demeanor. As Tom Burnam states "Daisy cannot break away from Tom, particularly after she learns that Gatsby's wealth comes from racketeering" it shows how although Gatsby is at the very top of society,…show more content…
Since the beginning of mankind, the structure of society and establishment of power was defined by a person's worth, not about the substance of their character or personality, but about how much money or land they had. In both The Great Gatsby and Moby Dick, social hierarchy in society plays a huge role in the lives of the characters. For Moby Dick, there is a prevalent social structure aboard the Pequod starting with Ahab at the very top, and all the way to the bottom of Pip, the slave shipmate. Although Pip is the colored, lowest ranked sailors on the ship, Ahab still relates to him towards the end of the novel due to the similarity in their madness. As Mary Petrus Sullivan writes, "Although Pip and Ahab are both deranged, they are so far apart in their madness that like positive and negative charges of love, they are attracted by what is lacking in each other," it portrays the worth of Pip who is could have potentially been helped Ahab be relieved of his madness, even though he is at the bottom of society and the ship. For Ahab, according to Mary Petrus Sullivan, "silvers of insight like this scene with Pip prove that there is something somewhere in Ahab to be loved, and Pip insane with "heaven's sense" has found it." The scene in "The Cabin" of Moby Dick portrays the importance of a

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