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How does the theme "superficial relationships" relate to the novel "The Great...

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ritakantar | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:36 PM via web

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How does the theme "superficial relationships" relate to the novel "The Great Gatsby"?

please use parts of the book ..thank you!

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:04 PM (Answer #1)

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Most of the relationships in the novel are superficial; that is, they lack depth of feeling and are based on surface qualities only.  Daisy and Tom are married because it was expected of both of them to marry someone with money - which they did by marrying one another.  Their marriage is not based on a deep love for one another.  That is evident throughout the novel as we hear about Tom's escapades that started as early as his honeymoon. Much of that is discussed in a conversation between Jordan and Nick in Chapter 4.  Daisy quickly falls back into a relationship with Gatsby, and even that pairing has some superficial qualities to it.  Daisy may truly have some feelings for Jay, but she also wanted to break out of her luxurious, but dull, daily routine by having an affair.  While Jay wanted her to leave Tom and marry him, she had no intention of leaving her husband.  It was just an affair to Daisy.  Much of the evidence of this is seen in Chapter 7.  The relationship between Tom and Myrtle is purely superficial.  Myrtle is with Tom because he has money and she thinks he can and will pull her out of her oppressive life above the garage.  Tom is with Myrtle for the sex and the excitement of having an affair.  Even Nick and Jordan don't have a deep love for one another; neither is committed to the relationship and neither is very upset when it ends.  Going beyond romantic relationships, there are superficial qualities in the connections between people outside of romantic pairs.  The people flock to Gatsby's parties for what they can get - a fun night with free food, music, and booze.  When Gatsby dies, not even Klipspringer who, like a leech, lived at Gatsby's house as a guest, goes to the funeral.  Disgust at all this lack of concern and care for others is one of the reasons Nick left New York to return to the midwest.

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