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What parallel is suggested by the inheritance bequeathed to Gatsby by Cody?

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ewatz | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 26, 2013 at 9:40 AM via web

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What parallel is suggested by the inheritance bequeathed to Gatsby by Cody?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 26, 2013 at 11:13 AM (Answer #1)

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I would suggest that there are some rather sad parallels between the inheritance left to Gatsby and the lives people lead in The Great Gatsby.  Gatsby sees Dan Cody and the life of luxury that he embodies. In seeing this world, Jay Gatz decides that this is the life he was destined to represent.  He serves Cody with a sense of loyalty and honor, almost as a son would serve a father.  Out of this loyalty and devotion, Gatz becomes Gatsby and reinvents himself.  Dan Cody leaves a sizable inheritance to his descendent, while Gatsby receives none of the money.

The parallels here abound.  On one hand, there is a futility of good intentions.  Decent people like Gatz and even Cody end up falling prey to those who wish to negate such goodness.  Cody's mistress is able to deny Gatsby receiving the inheritance.  The testament that someone has given another has been blighted.  This parallel is seen throughout the novel.  Little in way of good and transcendent nobility is passed down.  The only constant is deceit, cruelty, and futility.  Gatsby sees this in the way he is treated by Daisy.  The Wilsons see this in the way they are treated by Tom. Nick sees this in the way everyone treats everyone else.  In all of these cases, nothing good is transmitted between human beings in the same way that the inheritance is not transferred to Gatsby.  Additionally, another parallel is seen in the emptiness of money.  Cody promises money through the inheritance to Gatsby.  Yet, this money has no real meaning as Gatsby never receives it and its emptiness is all that remains.  Throughout the novel, this experience of the emptiness of money becomes evident.  The lifestyle that Gatsby, the partygoers, and the Buchanans lead are empty ones.  There is little value or worth to money, another parallel that is evident in the inheritance from Cody to Gatsby.

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