Great Gatsby Critical lens Essay

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Norman Cousins once said, “Death is not the greatest loss in life, the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ” In saying this, Cousins conveys the valid idea that our physical death is not as great of a loss as the the death of our dreams and characteristics throughout our lives. Each The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Montana: 1948 support the validity of Cousins’ statement throughout the text with the uses of characterization, and symbolism.

Over the course of the novel, Watson continually supports the idea that the loss of things within oneself is a greater loss than that of one’s physical life with the use of characterization and conflict. In Montana: 1948 the characterization of Davy, who experiences the death of his innocence and the loss of true childhood due to his Uncle’s crimes including rape and murder along with his eventual suicide. Davy learns of Uncle Frank’s raping of perhaps multiple Native American women who come to him for a doctor’s help eavesdropping on stairwells and through closed doors.

The true change of his character and loss of innocence is displayed twice, initially when he aims his gun, albeit unloaded, at Frank. His loss of innocence is displayed again when after seeing Frank’s body after his suicide, Davy is not sad or even unsettled, but relieved and happy that Frank is dead and the family will no longer be in turmoil. Davy’s father experiences the loss of his family due to conflict in the novel. As he is the town sheriff, after he learns of his brother’s crimes he has to make a decision; family or morality.

As he eventually decides to arrest Frank for his crimes he loses his brother to his suicide and loses his parents due to his father’s own decisions regarding the rape and murder committed by Frank. Fitzgerald also supports the idea that physical death is not as great of a loss as the loss of dreams and characteristics that die within us as we live throughout The Great Gatsby with the use of characterization and symbolism. As the character of Daisy is developed we witness the loss of her ability to love. Initially Daisy loved Gatsby, despite his social status, despite the fact that her parents did not approve.

However, later on in the book we witness the fact that Daisy has lost her ability to love, not only with her treatment of Gatsby but her own child. Daisy acts as if she loves Gatsby but instantly loses the feeling as soon as she finds that he gained his wealth rather than was born into it. Daisy also treats her own daughter as an object, referring to her on only one occasion and displaying her as an object to her “friends” simply to show her off. The symbol of the green light at the end of Daisy and Tom’s dock is symbolic of Gatsby’s dream of attaining Daisy and her love.

The dream is killed when Gatsby finally reunited with Daisy when the light loses its enchanted quality. Although it seems as if Gatsby has achieved his dream he has not actually attained Daisy, only won over her affection for a short time. Norman Cousins once said, “Death is not the greatest loss in life, the greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. ” In saying this, Cousins conveys the valid idea that our physical death is not as great of a loss as the the death of our dreams and characteristics throughout our lives.

While death of a loved one is certainly heart wrenching, and our own deaths are the thing we all fear more than anything, what we do not realize and what we forget to fear is the death of things within us. Everyday people let their dreams die and lose their innocence, honesty, and integrity, forgetting how great of a loss it truly is. Each The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Montana: 1948 support the validity of Cousins’ statement throughout the text with the uses of characterization, and symbolism.

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