Social Isolation In The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby as a parody that remarks that remarks on the American standards during the 1920s. He shows the lack of regard of everybody during the time by depicting them in two communities East Egg and West Egg. One theme that we see here is the concept of isolation. The concept of isolation is theoretically defined as a state in which an individual experiences a reduction in the level of normal sensory and social input with possible involuntary limitations on physical space or movement. Three characters that show themselves being isolated are Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, and Daisy Buchanan.
Jay Gatsby’s isolation was very different than the rest of the characters. He was socially isolated. In the book we say that he is portrayed as a lonely, isolated man. In the opening In the opening chapter of the book, we see Gatsby being satisfied being alone, in fact we see the narrator, Nick, describing how Gatsby was looking into the dark water describing how Gatsby was looking at “a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.” This is the first time we see the “green light” being shown in the book. Upon further reading, we realize that it is a symbolism of Gatsby’s love for Daisy, money, and the American Dream. The narrator tells us that he was stretching out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way which The narrator tells us that he was stretching out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way which shows how individuals are continually making progress toward something that is superior to anything what reality can furnish them with, and since Gatsby demands living inside this obscure, optimistic dream, he falls prey to finish social confinement. The residence of Gatsby was located in West Egg, Long Island. Gatsby was socially isolated from the community of East Egg which prides itself for its residents having respect, custom, and stature.
Another example of his loneliness is his mansion. Gatsby always wanted people in his house. He frequently threw lavish parties which entertained hundreds of guests, all with the intent that hopefully Daisy would come to one of his parties.We learn that Gatsby is the sole resident of his mansion, showing that he is socially isolated and loneliness hits him each night when he stands on the dock, looking at the green light on Daisy’s dock, longing to share his wealth with the woman he loved. It was his sole reason he accumulated his money, to make up for the five year’s that they were separated. A final way we see Gatsby being socially isolated is at the end of his life. Gatsby Due to a misunderstanding, Gatsby was shot by George Wilson who thought that Gatsby killed his wife Myrtle. Gatsby dying in a pool shows a sort of baptism. In a certain sense, it shows that he is cleansed of all his wrong doings throughout his life and is alleviated of all stress. At Gatsby’s funeral, Nick couldn’t get people to come because nearly all the people who knew Gatsby were people who simply used him for their benefit.
Nick Carraway, a young man from Minnesota who goes to New York City to learn the bond business. He resides in community of new wealth, West Egg. Nick’s isolation is different than of Gatsby’s. Jay Gatsby was socially isolated whereas, Nick was constantly isolated by his rich friends. The main reason he is being isolated is because he is not of the upper class standard that his friends are. To understand Nick properly, we must first understand how Nick’s character changed. After visiting his cousin and meeting a professional golfer, Jordan Baker, she convinced him that he should attend one of Gatsby’s parties. When he met Gatsby at his party he instantly became a more confident person. Gatsby’s approachable demeanour paved way for Nick to take initiative in the conversation. Nick continued to attend Gatsby’s parties and eventually became very close with him. Before Nick became close with Gatsby, he followed certain guidelines, but afterwards he began to live a care-free lifestyle.
The lavish and sumptuous life that at first seemed enticing, was the cause of Nick’s downfall. He also saw that the people he surrounded himself had the same money-centred mindset as Gatsby. On one side of the coin he saw Gatsby who presented himself as a polite and considerate person. On the other side of the coin he saw Tom and Daisy who embraced themselves as invincible human beings, because of their wealth, having no sense of compassion or understanding. Nick was a pawn on Gatsby’s check board. He used Nick to get closer to Daisy. While Gatsby is ‘watching’ Daisy, Nick narrates that “…Gatsby was clutching at some last hope and he couldn’t bare to shake him free.” At the end of the book we see Nick frantically trying to get people to attend Gatsby’s funeral. , but no one wanted to come. This makes him realize that he is alone in appreciating Gatsby’s hope and character. “I found myself Gatsby’s side, and alone…it grew upon me that I was responsible, because no one else was interested…” Gatsby’s death gives Nick a chance to isolate himself, which is foreshadowed by the quote mentioned. A surprising thing is that Nick is happy when he is alone, in solitary.
For Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, and Daisy Buchanan they are never alone but always isolated. From the beginning, Daisy has virtually been alone. Even being surrounded with wealth and two wealthy men who long for her commitment, she is still emotionally isolated. During her daughter Pammy’s birth, her husband Tom, was not even present. She was very isolated from Tom at that point. She is mentally weak to forsake Tom’s wealth and to leave him. She uses attention as a way to cope with her affair with Gatsby. We see this when she kisses Gatsby in her husbands house, having no sense of honour or respect towards him. She needs to know that someone is going to give and receive her attention. An ironic thing is that she had a fear of being physically isolated but she ended up being emotionally isolated. At a party Daisy makes a certain remark saying that she hopes her daughter will be a “beautiful little fool” because that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world. This comment shows us that her isolation seems to extend towards her daughter as well.
The ‘dream’ to be wealthy, live lavishly, and in the glamour of the city will not always have the foreseen outcome, as shown by these characters. Jay, Nick, and Daisy realize their isolation, hold on to their pasts, making no effort to remediate the situation. Isolation in The Great Gatsby could have been avoided for the most part if some of the characters let go of their past. Due to their inability to live in the present world led to the downfall of them.
“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
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