Each reader’s perspective on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s message will be influenced by their overall perspective on life: optimists are likely to find hope in Gatsby ’s incurable romanticism, but pessimists will probably find support for a bleak view of American society. Fitzgerald offers a complex vision of the post-World...
Each reader’s perspective on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s message will be influenced by their overall perspective on life: optimists are likely to find hope in Gatsby’s incurable romanticism, but pessimists will probably find support for a bleak view of American society. Fitzgerald offers a complex vision of the post-World War One era. In the prosperous 1920s, most people gained faith in progress and some made great fortunes. But for ordinary people like the Wilsons, luxury and security remained out of reach. Fitzgerald seems to have little faith that the golden days would last because they were founded on an illusion.
Gatsby believed that he could spread the splendor of his life and bind his princess to him forever. Nick says, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.” The conversation between Nick Carraway and Gatsby about his hopes for rekindling his old romance with Daisy Buchanan offer an insight into Fitzgerald’s message. Gatsby rejects Nick’s sensible assessment,
“You can’t repeat the past.”
"Can't repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!"
In fact, Jay has no intention of repeating the whole past, only the elements he wants to recall—the idyllic few days when he and Daisy were in love. Fitzgerald suggests that, like Gatsby, America had selective amnesia about what the country had endured during the war, including the horrors that the soldiers had experienced. While Gatsby manages to stay positive, near the end, Nick notes, he was waiting for the call from Daisy that never came.
The fantasy of love, although shattered by the accident, was no more unreal than the collective fantasy that gripped America in the wave of prosperity. Another place that indicates Fitzgerald’s main point is at the very end, as Nick comments on the ancient Dutch explorers’ vision of the “new world,” which has become obsolete.
for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent,…face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.