The Great Gatsby Hero's Journey

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The hero represents a person’s unconscious self, one that eventually manifests into their identity. Furthermore, each hero undergoes a journey, one that takes them through the three rites of passage: separation, initiation, and return. The ideas of Joseph Campbell and psychiatrist Carl Jung combine to create a series of alluring archetypes that have been historically accurate throughout numerous books and movies. The idea of the hero’s journey is present in The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Of Mice and Men. Each of these novels communicates the physical journey in a different way, but the psychology behind each step remains relatively consistent. In The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway successfully completes Joseph Campbell’s idea…show more content…
Sacrificing everything he once knew, he ventures into the unknown and becomes an unconscious version of himself. For Nick Carraway, this is when he meets Jay Gatsby, a man with the power to alter his life forever. Immediately, Nick is affected by the man’s smile, “one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it.” (Fitzgerald 53) This moment signifies Nick’s passage into the unknown, into the corrupt world of materialism. He was no longer just a man of West Egg, he was Gatsby’s bishop in a game of chess, and Daisy was the ultimate prize. Mentally, crossing the threshold is the hero’s commitment to change, and once Nick makes plans to reunite Gatsby and Daisy, he has entered a new…show more content…
They are faced with tests, internal or external, that may or may not end their journey. Nick Carraway’s struggles are closely linked to his morality, something he never wanted to let go of. He is manipulated not only by Gatsby, who offers him “a nice bit of money” (Fitzgerald 88) to arrange the meeting with Daisy, but by the other people he encounters in this unknown world. Nick is surrounded by complete and utter corruption, where people lie and get away with it, and human values are nonexistent. Even Gatsby was a fictitious, invented character, that “sprang from his Platonic conception of himself,” (Fitzgerald 105) using illegal activities to earn his name. Nick was constantly tempted by the materialistic mindset held by his colleagues, and giving in to the falsity of their world would have been painstakingly easy. While the mental temptation was evident, he was also physically tempted by Jordan Baker. She continued to make advances on Nick as the novel progressed, adding to the numerous trials he must complete to pursue the hero’s journey. Ultimately, the East threatens his morality through continuous dishonesty and
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