The Great Gatsby Pool Analysis

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In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby’s pool is typically mentioned in conjunction with displays of his fortune. Gatsby’s pool represents the temptations of excess and luxury that accompany a life of wealth. Initially, Gatsby is able to distance himself from this lavishness—while he enjoys a privileged lifestyle, he acknowledges the need to distance himself from excess. However, as the summer continues, he fails to maintain this internal restraint, leading him to lose the morals that once guided his behavior. Consequently, the only his desire for wealth, an all-consuming force that leads to his eventual demise, remains. As Gatsby is increasingly exposed to wealth, he fails to maintain an internal restraint, one that prevents him…show more content…
Before Nick leaves for the city, he meets Gatsby for breakfast. Gatsby discusses draining the pool with his gardener and tells Nick, “you know, old sport, I’ve never used that pool all summer?” (153) Gatsby is self-aware: he acknowledges that he hasn’t given into the temptations of wealth during the summer, as instead he has been concentrating on winning Daisy’s love. He was nearly successful—he almost got Daisy to leave Tom—but in the end, he failed. While he is able to set aside his temptations for the summer, he can never completely escape them. On the day of his death, Gatsby plans to go for a swim: “he stopped at the garage for a pneumatic mattress that had amused his guests during the summer, and the chauffeur helped him pump it up” (161). Although there is still a barrier between Gatsby and a complete consumption of wealth, it is shrinking. Before, Gatsby was not tempted by excess, whereas now he is on the brink of giving into it. The “pneumatic mattress” enables Gatsby to further assimilate into a life of complete wealth before becoming completely consumed. It is frequently used by his guests, who acknowledge the need to maintain some distance between themselves and excess, but still feel themselves giving into the desire for increased wealth. By maintaining this barrier, Gatsby is able to exist in a world of privilege and enjoy the benefits of his wealth without being entirely consumed by
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