In The Great Gatsby, author Scott Fitzgerald displays time, and its significance, from the past and present. Fitzgerald uses this premise throughout the story, told by the novels storyteller Nick Carroway. This motif of time demonstrates Jay Gatsby's keenness to return to the past, blinding him from the changes made in the present day and for the future, leading to his downfall and ultimately his demise.
Throughout the novel, Gatsby spent all his time chasing an asinine dream, and this fortitude to a bight and thriving future sparked time as a major part in Gatsby's life. Nick describes Gatsby's and says, "Almost five years! There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dream- - not through her own fault, but because of thecolossal vitality of his illusion..."(95; ch. 5). Nick clearly puts it simply that Gatsby viewed Daisy as a person with perfect qualities. Nevertheless, once he actually kissed her, his former expectation of their relationship diminishes. Ideally, Gatsby thought she would resemble the person he met in the past. However, a false mask is placed over Gatsby as he constantly revolves his thoughts on the past, leading to forgetfulness of reality and Daisy's true disposition.
Since Gatsby obviously lives in the past, he never reallylives for the present. Gatsby clearly illustrates this in his actions as he chooses to abscond from home, change his legal birth name, and lastly concealing his true background to others in order to obtain a former memory. Gatsby set, "...aplatonic conception of himself" (98; ch. 6). Nick says Gatsby made something of himself because he "...was a son of God" (98; ch. 6). Jay Gatsby's accounts say he makes a start of himself, which in turn leads to his great future. In the main scheme of things Gatsby needs to make choices "...suck onthe pap of life, gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder" (110; ch. 6), versus kissing Daisyand "...his mind would never romp again like the mind of God" (110; ch. 6). Gatsby'sother alternative, is to climb and reach to God, which represents Gatsby's future,or remain in the past as he chooses Daisy.
Joe Westermeyer goes to say, "The lead character,Gatsby(obviously a cipher for Fitzgerald himself), was trying to acquire a woman clearly outside of his class-bound reach" (1457). Gatsby should have clearly seen the social class difference and the indication that perusing Daisy was a ghastly idea. This problem drove him to become wealthy, to gain her approval, and in the end, the only reason why she ends up desiring him.
"He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray.....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' ".(92; ch. 5)
As Gatsby displays his lavish shirts to Daisy, she begins to cry realizing that Gatsby has the wealth she always wished he had. The socioeconomic barrier between them was broken and Daisy is attracted to great prosperity, which shows her great superficiality. Gatsby unaware of this continues to pursue her in the hopes she will leave her husband and run away with him to continue their love affair." I love you now- isn't that enough? I can't help what's past" (132; ch. 7). In this quote, Daisy specifically tells Gatsby that she does not want an exclusive relationship and she loves him now, "can't that be enough." Yet again Gatsby is not really listening to what she is saying because he believes she does not mean it. He feels she is just saying such things to keep Tom at ease, when really she is completely serious. With a husband and a child to take care of Daisy has no business fooling around with the likes of Gatsby but still continues to do so for some unknown reason: Perhaps because she happens to be bored or wants to get back at her husband. But Gatsby is fooled to believe Daisy is unhappy with her life and is controlled by her husband and feels threatened to revolt.
Gatsby's father viewed Gatsby's future with high promises.He said, "He had a big future before him..."(168; ch. 9), and Gatsby's future looked bright. His goals set in stone, made him quite impatient and driven to achieve all set goals. Nevertheless, the one goal he wanted to achieve was unreachable; the outlook for his solitary dream was bleak. The dream to make the past, his present and future, but this goal was out of grasp. This resulting in a restricted future predestined by one solitary smooch, which was happened to be his only wrong flaw, "The holocaust was complete"(162; ch. 8).
Time a substantial theme in the Great Gatsby plays a key rolein Gatsby's decisions to reinvent the past while sadly in turn leading to his termination. Gatsby lived solely in the past, when it came to the present nothing seemed there. The pursuit of life, liberty, the happiness, and the American dream fall short when it comes to the past, looking onward to a flourishing future. Dreams in many cases must fall between the cracks never achieved or merely forgotten, and the green light tranquilly burns.
- Fitzgerald, Francis.The great Gatsby. Scribner Book Company, 2004. Print
- Westermeyer, Joe. "The Great Gatsby".American Journal of Psychiatry12(2009):1415.eLibrary. Web. 15 Jan 2010