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In The Great Gatsby, in what way is Gatsby blind?  Other characters, also?

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kelly102 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 26, 2010 at 11:57 PM via web

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In The Great Gatsby, in what way is Gatsby blind?  Other characters, also?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 27, 2010 at 12:50 AM (Answer #1)

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Many of the characters in this novel are blind in one way or another.

The person who seems to be the most blind is George Wilson.  He seems to have no idea that his wife Myrtle is having an affair with Tom Buchanan.  Tom comes to his garage and talks to Myrtle, Myrtle immediately says she has to go to the city, and George actually believes her.

Gatsby himself seems a bit blind because he does not understand what Daisy is really like.  He is in love with this idealized image of her.  I think you could say that a symbol of this is when he almost falls down a flight of stairs while showing her around his house -- she has blinded him.  You can also, I think, say that the parties symbolize his blindness.  He has all these people around but he doesn't really seem to see them.

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 27, 2010 at 12:59 AM (Answer #2)

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In The Great Gatsby, one could say Gatsby himself is figuratively blind.  He is blind to reality and blind to the truth about Daisy specifically and people in general.  He assumes that if he can just do the right things, take the right approach, Daisy will love him and leave her husband for him.  but he is wrong.  No matter what Gatsby does, and whether Daisy romantically loves him or not, she will not break the status quo and leave her husband.  She may not even be capable of true love.  Gatsby does not see this. 

In general, the novel is full of self-centered and superficial people.  One wouldn't have to look very hard to find more blindness, and of course the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg overlooking the valley of the ashes contribute to this theme.

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