The topics of interest and ambition are highly prominent among various writers and philosophical thinkers. Numerous authors addressed the ideas of aspiration, its characteristics, and possible consequences for both the engaged individual and their surroundings. The novel The Great Gatsby, written by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, is a perfect example of a representation of unique thoughts on ambition and obsession. Narrated from the perspective of Nick Carraway, the writer describes the young men’s friendship with Jay Gatsby and the intense desire of the enigmatic millionaire to reunite with Daisy Buchanan. The Great Gatsby excellently illustrates how obsession can cause one to become detached from reality, destroying relationships and leading to gruesome consequences. This work analyzes Fitzgerald’s view of the negative impact of one’s ambition on their behavior and attitudes, as well as the behavior of others, explaining how obsession might originate dangerous ramifications.
Jay Gatsby and the Pursuit of Love
The novel The Great Gatsby is a fundamental work that discusses the subjects of social class, desire, and hypocrisy, demonstrating the author’s perspective on the American society of the 1920s. The characteristic traits of that time, captured in the endeavors of the main characters, shed light on such diverse elements as love, commodity, and individual ambition, in the life of individuals within different social statuses. Told by Nick Carraway, the story unravels around the endeavors of the young man Jay Gatsby, who aspires to alter his social class and receive the love of a young woman, Daisy Buchanan. Each project that Jay Gatsby participates in aims at reuniting with Daisy, thus achieving happiness and passion. According to the young man, the class difference is the only obstacle on this path, as Gatsby is a son of a farmer and Daisy belongs to the upper social class all America. Therefore, eliminating this distinction becomes the protagonist’s soul obsession, which he resolves by accumulating a considerable amount of wealth through illegal means.
Although the young man’s aspirations appear honorable, in reality, they severely impact his future and the individuals around him. The desire to capture Daisy’s interest results in a pure obsession with money, fame, and social gatherings, which, as Gatsby hopes, will become his chance to enter the environment of the upper class. Even though the man is able to accomplish this goal and secure a wealthy status, his actual ambition to reunite with Daisy cannot be fulfilled by those means. Instead of inspiring the young man to improve himself, his passion creates an illusion of success, as Gatsby truly believes that his complications will be resolved with the attainment of proper monetary savings.
Blinded by the minute possibility of obtaining Daisy’s love, the young man devotes all of his energy and finances to this sole purpose. Starting from the illegal activities that earned the young man his possessions to the eager protection of Daisy’s security after the incident with Myrtle, the neverending devotion does not bring Gatsby any closer to his objective. On the contrary, it negatively impacts the future of the young man, playing a gruesome part in his death, as he is unjustly blamed for the crime he did not commit. Overall, obsession with Daisy drastically affects Jay Gatsby, prompting him to change his behavior but never yielding the needed results.
Illusions of Successful Future Represented in Gatsby and Myrtle Wilson
Over the course of the novel’s events, it becomes evident that Gatsby’s obsession is no more than an impossible future, a perfect dream, the delusion of which is not yet realized. The metaphor of the green light perfectly represents the illusion of the future perceived by the protagonist. According to Nick Carraway, Gatsby believed in the positive future that he would obtain by fulfilling this ambition. Captured by the past, the young man is unable to see past the impossibility of his attempts and is struggling to return to the days of his affair with Daisy. Although the current circumstances are exceptionally different from those of 1917, and the actual possibility of success for Gatsby is minimal, the young man possesses substantial optimism, which fuels his passion for Daisy.
Apart from causing diverse complications for Gatsby, his aspirations also impact the people around him, originating numerous negative consequences. From the very beginning, the young man only shows interest in people associated with Daisy, someone who could fulfill his ambitions. Nick Carraway is one of those individuals who is noticed by Gatsby due to his connections to the Buchanans. Failing to focus on anything else other than his aim, the young millionaire neglect the personal qualities of the people surrounding him, only viewing them as possible assets in his endeavor.
Another instance of impossible ambition is observable in the character of Myrtle Wilson, a temporary lover of Tom Buchanan. Somewhat similar to Gatsby, Myrtle is unable to realize the futility of her attempts to enter the world of the upper class, thus fueling her desire to marry Tom. The woman is also enchanted by the illusion of possibility, the potential future, in which her aspirations are fulfilled. However, Myrtle is not perceptive of Tom’s intentions, he perceives her solely as one of his many lovers, nothing more than a proud achievement. Furthermore, the woman suffers the horrible consequences of her endeavors, dying at the hands of Daisy in the horrible incident. Although Myrtle desired the best for herself, she abandoned rationality and morality in her pursuit of success, originating a series of detrimental ramifications. Daisy’s act, George Wilson’s revenge, and Gatsby’s death were, by extension, the results of ambition expressed by Myrtle and Gatsby.
To conclude, the ideas of ambition and its negative impact on the lives of people were discussed in detail in this paper, explaining the drastic outcomes of illusionary aspirations. Fitzgerald perfectly portrays an environment of the 1920s, a world full of monetary interest, affairs, and American dreams. From the perspective of the author, a powerful obsession can become a cause for various dramatic circumstances, resulting in severe psychological and physical damage to the individuals involved. The concept of obsession and delusion are embodied in the character of Jay Gatsby, a prominent young man who devotes his ambition two altering his social status and reuniting with the woman he loves. Failing to realize the impossibility of his attempts and only striving to secure the imaginary future leads Gatsby to a detrimental outcome. Similar to the young man, Myrtle Wilson also possesses several characteristic traits of an ambitious person who is unable to recognize the illusion behind her intentions. Overall, the novel clearly describes the negative aspects of obsession, demonstrating how heightened aspirations affect both the individual and the people around them.