Theme Of Grandeur In The Great Gatsby

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Delusions of Grandeur in The Great Gatsby In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby embodies the American ideal of the self-made man, but he stretches it to the breaking point by defying the natural progression of time and aspiring to be untouched by the unfolding of events. In his resistance to time’s hold, Gatsby envisions himself as a sort of god. Fitzgerald uses Gatsby’s denial of time, a symbol for human mortality, to illustrate the boundless extent of his ambition and his grandiose vision of himself. Gatsby is a static character who refuses to live in the present and attempts to preserve ideal moments in time, rather than accepting the natural flow of time and being subject to its effects. At the crucial moment of…show more content…
“It was testimony to the romantic speculation he inspired that there were whispers about him from those who had found little that it was necessary to whisper about in this world (44).” The mystery of his life is so fascinating to everyone that they continuously speculate about him and come up with wild theories explaining his veiled past, paying him “the subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him (61).” Fitzgerald evokes religious sentiments by using the word“tribute” to demonstrate the Godlike awe Gatsby inspires in those around him. Like God, no one seems to know how he came to be, even Nick is intrigued by his peculiar lack of any sort of history. Gatsby would be comprehensible were he “from the swamps of Louisiana or from the lower East side of New York”, but he could not be understood devoid of a context. As Nick muses “young men didn’t--at least in my provincial inexperience I believed they didn’t-- drift coolly out of nowhere and buy a palace on Long Island Sound…show more content…
He creates a timeless reality for himself within which he can arrange the elements of his imagined ideal according to his will. Gatsby imposes his will on Daisy by negating Tom’s role in her life and erasing the past five years she has spent in the world without him. Gatsby demands that Daisy deny that she ever loved Tom. His colossal dream is punctured by Daisy’s reaction to the impossibility of this demand “‘Oh, you want too much!’... ‘I can’t help what’s past’(132).” To “help what’s past” is precisely what Gatsby is intent on doing. This delusion of victory over time is symbolized by the fall of a clock, during his initial reunion with Daisy. The exact moment before the clock falls, Gatsby declares,“‘We’ve met before’ (86).” Gatsby proceeds to catch the clock “with trembling fingers” and place it back in its spot, literally grasping time in his hand and exerting his will over
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