Examples Of Nostalgia In The Great Gatsby

1694 Words7 Pages

Joshua Marks
Jay Bush
English 2
Block D
24 March 2023
Haunted by the Past or Hopeful for the Future
Oxford dictionaries definition of nostalgia is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. Every time you recall a memory having a feeling of nostalgia, the more distorted it becomes. When someone is nostalgic and constantly remembering events that occurred in their lives, they are virtually creating a fabricated, fairytale past. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, nostalgia comes from characters' self distorted memories of the past leading to discomfort in the present. Then, when the present does not live up to the standards of their romanticized past, …show more content…

Gatsby exemplifies how dangerous severe obsession can be when he obsesses over his past with Daisy to the point where his goal was to play god and force the past into the present, leading to his overall disappointment and downfall. Daisy is an upper class woman who Gatsby had a relationship with before the war. Once Gatsby returns from the war his only goal seems to be to recreate his past relationship. He constantly compared his present to his past. Humans' strongest memories come from the most emotional moments in life. When these incredibly emotional moments are replayed obsessively in our heads our memories shift to fit our fabricated standards. After Gatsby's death, Nick describes the human race as boats floating throughout time. The final line of the novel states “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past'' (180). This description of boats beating against the current suggests that Gatsby and Nick are traveling against the societal norm of giving up on the past. Gatsby grew up in a family of poor farmers while he was known as James Gatz, however he evolves into Jay Gatsby: a very successful West Egg new money man. “Borne ceaselessly into the past '' proves Gatsby's delusion drives him to recreate his relationship with Daisy but now with his altered expectations from the past. It almost seems as if Gatsby was trapped in the past and unable to …show more content…

During Gatsby's afternoon spent with Daisy, after Gatsby exposes that he was driven by his past with Daisy to buy a house with a bed that looks across the water at the green light at the end of Daisy's dock every single night. Gatsby displays that one's past can drive them for a better future. During their afternoon together when “Daisy put her arm through his abruptly but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one” (93). Nick describes the value of this green light at the end of Daisy's dock and hints at its significance to Gatsby. The light originally designed to literally direct boats displayed what Gatsby was looking for; it acted as a constant reminder for who he wanted his future to be with. The green light symbolizes Gatsby's future and what motivates him. While Nick is reminiscing about his time with Gatsby he also mentions the green light saying “Gatsby believed in

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