Something There

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Credits to Spreng Ben on Flickr.

If I received a penny for every time someone has asked me to fetch “something”, I would have a small fortune.  Something can be anything, and that’s the some of the literary gold in The Great Gatsby.  At the end of Chapter 6, there’s a flashback to Gatsby’s past, detailing an intimate rendezvous five years ago.  Young Gatsby takes a moonlight stroll with Daisy Fay, and in the emotionally charged night, kisses Daisy.  Nick says that he is “. . . reminded of something-an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I had heard somewhere a long time ago.”

Daisy, upon kissing Gatsby, “blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”  Gatsby’s dream of being with Daisy is realized in this scene, made tangible by the kiss.  Gatsby knows that he has attained Daisy’s love once, and he feels confident that this moment was irrevocably emblazoned in both of their minds, and that he and Daisy were truly meant for each other.  Gatsby “. . . knew that when he kissed this girl [Daisy], and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God,” and so it was that Gatsby’s happiness became synonymous with Daisy’s love.

Nick notes Gatsby’s “appalling sentimentality” and the “colossal vitality of his [Gatsby’s] illusion”, but finds himself transfixed by Gatsby’s childish resolve to win back Daisy’s love.  Gatsby’s headstrong pursuit of Daisy surprises Nick, and though he thinks Gatsby foolish, Nick is reminded of a child’s innocence.  Even all the money and material objects Gatsby has are all put into finding Daisy again; Gatsby throws his parties because there’s a chance that he might meet Daisy there.  Gatsby follows around Daisy like a puppy, adoring Daisy and overlooking all of her faults.  It doesn’t even occur to him, when he met Daisy for the first time in nearly five years, that she could have been just as nervous and startled as he.  This pure love of Gatsby is, however, quite ironic, as Tom points out that Gatsby’s large fortune was made by bootlegging and possibly even through darker means.  It is this obsession that leaves Nick in awe of Gatsby; Gatsby’s hopes for a love that would once again blossom, despite time and marriage, is what makes Gatsby “great”.  His achievements are colossal, his motivation is tragic and undeserving of his attention, and his capacity for wonder only ends with his death.

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