How does Gatsby try to repeat the past?

How does Gatsby try to repeat the past?


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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gatsby tries to repeat the past by attempting to recreate what was (in his mind) the perfect romance between him and Daisy.

In Chapter 6, Tom and Daisy attend a party at Gatsby's house. There, Gatsby openly flirts with Daisy and dances with her. He even takes Daisy over to Nick's house so that they can chat without being seen by Tom.

After the party is over, Gatsby opines to Nick that Daisy did not enjoy herself. Gatsby appears focused on Daisy's every emotion. He is convinced that he can win her back, and this is why he becomes obsessed with eliciting certain responses from her. Gatsby wants nothing less than for Daisy to openly declare her love for him.

In other words, Gatsby wants Daisy to leave Tom and to marry him. Nick hypothesizes that what Gatsby really wants to do is to recreate who he was when he romanced Daisy five years ago. In the present, Gatsby tries to hold lots of parties and to basically show off his wealth in order to elicit admiration from Daisy. What Gatsby doesn't understand is that Daisy isn't interested in love; she's actually quite a shallow woman.

Daisy stays with Tom because he has pedigree, unimaginable wealth, and extensive social connections. Tom represents "old money," while Gatsby is part of the "new money" class of entrepreneurs. It is obvious that, for all his vulgarity and womanizing, Tom has a firm hold on Daisy. 

jimjimjimmy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gatsby tries to repeat the past by continuously pursuing Daisy. Gatsby and Daisy first meat when Gatsby is in the army. Gatsby comes from a lower-class farming family, while Daisy's family is very wealthy. The two fall in love, but Gatsby cannot marry Daisy because of his position in the army and his financial situation. After leaving the army, Gatsby amasses a vast personal fortune and relocates to West Egg. He throws lavish parties in the hopes of coming back into contact with Daisy, who lives nearby. Gatsby uses Nick Carraway, Daisy's cousin, as an intermediary to reintroduce him into Daisy's life. At this point, however, Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan, with whom she has a child. Gatsby nevertheless manages to meet with Daisy, and the two begin a brief affair. Gatsby attempts to convince Daisy to leave her husband and continue their previous relationship, and this almost works out until Tom intervenes and reality sets in. At this point, Gatsby's whole purpose of being is to win Daisy back. His repeated attempts to win Daisy back are the way in which he lives in the past, and it ultimately results in his premature death. 

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The Great Gatsby

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