Jay Gatsby is the main character in this novel. He is a young businessman living in West Egg, Long Island. Gatsby resides in an enormous mansion in which extravagant parties are hosted every night, attracting every sort of person possible. Very few people have ever actually met Gatsby, some even question his existence, this leads to the spreading numerous rumours.“Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once.” … “I don’t think it’s so much that,” argued Lucille sceptically; “it’s more that he was a German spy during the war.” In the beginning of the novel, we perceive Gatsby to be this well put together, sophisticated gentlemen, however, as the novel progresses the real Gatsby starts to come through. One by one his walls drops allowing the reader to see that in reality, Gatsby is just a young, juvenile boy chasing after the dream of being with Daisy. “He stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way … Involuntarily I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and faraway, that might have been the end of the dock.” Even up till Gatsby final moments he kept reaching out for hope, for the green light, that Daisy would come running back to him and they could live happily ever after.
In the beginning of the novel, Daisy Buchanan is painted as a perfect upper-class lady, who lives in East Egg with her husband, Tom and young daughter, Pammy. Daisy was born into the upper-class life, a life that Gatsby has always strived to be included in. Their infatuation with each other started 5 years ago at a party, whilst Gatsby was in the army. During Gatsby’s time away, Daisy met and married Tom Buchanan. Together they portrayed the image of a happy family but inside the grand walls of their mansion boredom and misery wafted down the empty, lifeless halls. “Their impersonal eyes in the absence of all desire”, Daisy and Tom are lying to one another and to themselves, pretending to care and that they truly love each other. When really Tom disappears into the city to be with his mistress, Myrtle, whom Daisy refuses to acknowledge the existence of. Further into the novel, Daisy is reunited with Gatsby through the help of Nick. This causes a rush of emotions, overwhelming her, “Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily.’They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts before.’ ” Daisy does not know how she is supposed to react to her reemerging feelings, so instead of facing her emotions, she hides beneath the materialistic objects. That is all Daisy can do, she would rather live a boring, emotionless life than risk her place in the social circles, so when she is asked to choose between Tom and Gatsby, she chooses Tom because of his power to give her any materialistic object she desires. Once again hiding what she truly wants, “Her frightened eyes told that whatever intentions, whatever courage, she had had, were definitely gone.” In the end, Daisy is just a pathetic shell of a person who refuses to fight for what she really want.
Nick Carraway is the narrator of the novel, “The Great Gatsby”. He is an aspiring businessman who recently moved into a small cottage located in West Egg, New York. Nick lives next door to Gatsby and is Daisy’s cousin which initially is the reason why they begin to communicate again. Although Nick is part of the storyline he often describes scenes like he isn’t there at all, with details that aren’t revealed until later on. In the line, “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.” We understand that Nick believes himself to be a non-judgemental person who only holds opinions on people that he has interacted. From this, we also release that Nick thinks that the people surrounding him lie and deceive each other, as the lifestyles that they live do not allow for flaws. As the story progresses Nick becomes a confidant of Gatsby’s, and he begins to undoubtedly believe everything Gatsby says. Tom says, “He threw dust into your eyes just like he did in Daisy’s.” This line is relating to the fact that Daisy was blind to the truth of Gatsby identity, that he was all an illusion, nothing about him was real. Gatsby did the same thing to Nick, using his charm to hide the reality of his true nature, and even when Gatsby died Nick still held the image that he portrayed above everyone else. In the end, the whole ordeal with Gatsby, Daisy, Tom and Jordan is what caused Nick to leave New York and return to home because the truth is he didn’t belong there, he wasn’t one of them.
Jay Gatsby lives a completely false life, his whole persona is an illusion. Gatsby recreated himself into the person he always wanted to be, but never could because of his place in the social classes. “I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West — all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition.” Jay Gatsby kept his story short and vague with enough slivers of truth so that he would never be caught out. Gatsby did go to Oxford, but only for a few short months and certainly did not attend school whilst there, also neither of his parents are dead as revealed at the end of the novel when his father arrives for the funeral. In the end, everything Gatsby did up till his final moments was for nothing, the wealth, the fame, the social class died along with him, leaving him to die as James Gatz should have alone and worthless. “he lay in his house and didn’t move or breathe or speak”, James Gatz never was truly alive it was all his illusion, Jay Gatsby. This tragic ending shows the reader that by lying to yourself and those around you, you will end up alone and unloved, like James. Daisy wasn’t in love with him, the real him, she was in love with his illusion.
Nick Carraway claims to be a very moral and trustworthy character who holds no judgements of others. “I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known” This line could not possibly be any more false, however, this is Nick’s illusion talking. The part of him that truly believes what he is doing isn’t wrong and that he has not changed. In reality, Nick’s morals left him the moment he didn’t tell Daisy about Tom’s affair. It is true though that Nick is a trustworthy character, as he kept all the secrets that he was told even if he probably shouldn’t have. As the reader, we think that although Nick tries to be the same moral person he was before moving to New York, the city and its people corrupted him, transforming him to be the same as the rest of the characters, harsh and judgmental.
Daisy Buchanan life is an illusion, the outside appears perfect, flawless but under close inspection, cracks begin forming. We can relate Daisy to the pure, innocent white flowers she is named after. However, as the story continues we come to realise what “a grotesque thing a rose is.” Daisy’s illusion crumbles, transforming her into an ugly rose, that’s thorns will prick anyone who gets too close, like Gatsby. All Daisy is really is a boring, shallow person who does not care for much, just materialistic objects, there is no substance to her life. Unlike originally thought Daisy is not as innocent as she seems. Her husband, Tom, is having an affair, but she knows she will never leave him for the man she is supposedly in love with because she refuses to risk her reputation. Daisy is just white; blank and boring. As the reader from this, we learn that the outwards appearance of people’s lives is not an accurate representation of the what is really going on.
Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan’s poisonous relationship was destined to fail from the start, and as the lies delved deeper it became apparent that they would not make it out unscathed. In the beginning, before Gatsby even met Daisy, he had already developed his new persona “Jay Gatsby”, he was no longer James Gatz and meeting Daisy just solidified his desire to become part of her upper-class world. The Jay Gatsby that Daisy fell in love with was all an illusion, therefore their whole relationship was all one big, elaborate illusion that Daisy was unable to escape even after she married another man and had a child. After spending a single summer together Gatsby began to obsess over Daisy and the life she lived, doing everything in his power to be close to her, “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay.” However, Daisy did not necessarily want this but she kept the facade that she was in love with Gatsby because she in a sense wanted her own revenge on Tom for him having an affair with Myrtle.
Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson’s relationship with each other was founded solely on Tom’s want for excitement and Myrtle’s desperate need to climb the social classes. Both Tom and Myrtle put on an act that they could have a happy relationship and that everything would work out perfectly for them. Tom knew what he was doing, by creating an illusion that he would leave his wife for this lower class women he could play games, toy with her emotions. All Tom wanted was to make his life interesting again, by adding a mistress it created a sense of risk and danger for him. However, Myrtle too formed a new image for herself, she over exaggerated her feelings to entice Tom in. Everything she did was to get herself out of the Valley of Ashes and into a respected lifestyle. Their whole relationship was an attempt at escape for both of them. Unfortunately, Myrtle was too desperate to flee her current lifestyle and in her final steps towards a future that was slowly slipping away through her fingers, she was killed, ironically, by Daisy.
Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s monotonous relationship once seemed like the best decision they could possibly make but as time moved on, so did their feelings for each other. After Gatsby left for war, Daisy met Tom and together they fell in love, married and moved to East Egg. For a while they were happy, but soon the illusion of there happily ever after fell away in pieces. Daisy tried to keep their image intact and in the process lost all of her emotions. She shielded herself from all the pain that the truth of Tom’s ‘secret’ affair brought her. “Distinguished secret society to which she and Tom belong.” Everything is a secret, Tom and Myrtle, Daisy and Gatsby, but neither relationships could every work as both Gatsby and Myrtle could never be part of their “society.” Although Daisy isn’t innocent in the demise of Tom and her’s relationship, Tom is a hypocrite, he refuses to let Daisy go. When Tom, Daisy and Gatsby are in the hotel arguing, Daisy can’t tell Gatsby that she never loved Tom because she would be lying. This leads the reader to question if Tom ever really loved Daisy because he could so easily cheat on her, but as soon as Daisy considers leaving him, he forces her to remember that she once loved him. Which also teaches the reader that Tom is just as scared of being with someone not in the same social circles as Daisy is. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made . . .” In the end, Tom and Daisy moved on with their lives like nothing had happened, their illusion was repaired and the two people who had managed to break through its wall were both dead, so together they just moved on.