The Hobbitexample Essay
The title character in the novel, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is not the only character of focus for readers. There are two other characters who play an important role as well. They are Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Daisy Buchanan is Nick Carraways (the narrator) cousin and the love interest of Jay Gatsby. Tom is the unfaithful husband of Daisy and also a conspirator against Gatsby. There is an obvious love triangle, through out the entire novel, between Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Tom Buchanan. Fitzgerald wants to see if the readers feelings about the Buchanans or Jay Gatsby change as the novel progresses. Instead of choosing a part of the text, I would go over the main events and points in the whole novel as it pertains to this situation. For this essay, I will do a Reader-Response analysis on the love triangle between these three and how infidelity can lead to heartache and more.
The book, Literary and Cultural Theory, defines Reader-Response analysis as having to indicate an emphasis on the reader in the process of textual interpretation (Hall 44). The novel is told through the eyes of Nick Carraway. Through this channel, he shows the readers, the good, the bad, and the ugly. From the beginning, we notice that the marriage between Tom and Daisy is not a very stable one. There is obviously infidelity in the union. The Buchanans are part of the aristocratic crowd living in East Egg. When we, the readers, first meet Tom, he is said to have had, two shining arrogant eyes (Fitzgerald 7) that had established dominance over his face (Fitzgerald 7). His voice is described as being a gruff husky tenor (Fitzgerald 7). Both Tom and Daisy were descendants from wealthy families. Tom seemed to be more of a braggart than Daisy though. Tom can also be thought of as being a racist because when he was telling Nick about a book called The Rise of the Colored Empire, he makes a remark, The idea is if we dont look out the white race will be will be utterly submerged (Fitzgerald 13).
Fitzgerald attempts to show Daisy as being a little nave or foolish, in my opinion. Daisy even hopes that her daughter becomes a beautiful little fool (Fitzgerald 17) one day. I find it a little odd that Daisy does not care that Tom is receiving phone calls at home from his mistress. It is not as if she does not know what is going on. Tom also seems a little uncaring as well. When Daisy was talking about the birth of her daughter and she says that, Tom was God knows where (Fitzgerald 17). My first thought was that he was probably with Myrtle Wilson, his mistress.
The extramarital affair between Tom and Myrtle Wilson is not a very secretive one. Jordan Baker, a friend of Daisys and Nicks love interest, is one of the characters who knows of the affair. She even informs Nick about it upon meeting him for the first time when she says, Toms got some woman in New York (Fitzgerald 15). This comes about when Tom apparently receives a phone call from Myrtle at home. Myrtle is the wife of George Wilson, a local mechanic. Tom acts as a wolf in sheeps clothing towards Myrtles unsuspecting husband. Because of Toms arrogance, he feels okay being seen with Myrtle in public. He even goes as far as to introducing Nick to Myrtle in Chapter Two of the novel.
Myrtle seems to get whatever she wants from Tom. They even rent an apartment together in New York for their little rendezvous. The readers can tell that Myrtle is spoiled when Fitzgerald writes, she let four taxicabs drive away before she selected a new one, lavender-colored with gray upholstery (Fitzgerald 27). Tom even buys Myrtle the dog that she wanted for the apartment as well. Things may seem good, but Myrtle does not always get away with everything. She and Toms relationship may seem like a nice thing, but it also turns violent. While at their apartment one day, Myrtle taunts Tom by shouting out Daisys name. Fitzgerald writes, Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand (Fitzgerald 37).
From the beginning of the novel, Jay Gatsby is very much of interest to Nick Carraway and the readers. So, what is so great about the Great Gatsby? We, the readers, tend to like Gatsby from the first time we meet him. He is described as a very friendly, easygoing guy. Gatsby is a wealthy man, but he is also very humble about it. Gatsby is also a very focused person. When he sees something he wants, he strives to get it.
The love affair between Gatsby and Daisy began in nineteen-seventeen (Fitzgerald 76) when they met in Louisville, Kentucky (Fitzgerald 76). Back then, Gatsby fell in love with Daisy. He thought that because of his status in society, he would not have had a chance with her. In hopes of making a better life for himself, and possibly Daisy, Gatsby enlisted in the military and was sent off to war. When he came back from the war, Daisy had already married Tom Buchanan. Apparently, Gatsby later found out where Daisy had moved. He spends many nights staring at the green light at the end of her dock in hopes of reuniting with her again.
Gatsby and Daisy end up meeting together for the first time in five years at Nicks house. Gatsby persuades Nick to invite Daisy over for tea at his home in attempt to get them reunited. Nick makes sure to warn Daisy not to bring Tom. Gatsby is a nervous wreck before meeting with Daisy. He feels that the meeting is going to be a terrible mistake. After Daisy arrives, Nick leaves out for a few minutes. When he returns, he thought that Gatsby literally glowed (Fitzgerald 90). When Gatsby invites Daisy and Nick to his home to show them around, Daisy is very much overwhelmed by how much wealth Gatsby had attained. Gatsby tries to impress Daisy again by having the pianist, Klipspringer, play The Love Nest (Fitzgerald 96). As Nick is leaving he sees that Gatsby has the expression of bewilderment (Fitzgerald 97) on his face. Fitzgerald also writes, His hand took hold of hers and as she said something low in his ear he turned toward her with a rush of emotion. I (Nick) think that voice held him most, with its flucuating, feverish warmth, because it couldnt be over-dreamed that voice was a deathless song (Fitzgerald 97). Gatsby is so mesmerized that he does not even notice that Nick is leaving.
Gatsby first meets Tom in Chapter Six when Tom arrives at Gatsbys house for a drink. It is an uncomfortable situation for Gatsby. Fitzgerald writes that, He was profoundly affected by the fact that Tom was there (Fitzgerald 102). Gatsby did in fact let Tom know that he knew Daisy. Tom is a little surprised by this new information. Fitzgerald writes that, Tom was evidently perturbed at Daisys running around alone (Fitzgerald 105). Tom angrily accuses Gatsby of being a bootlegger (Fitzgerald 109). Daisy defends Gatsby by telling Tom that Gatsby, owned some drug-stores, a lot of drug-stores. He built them himself (Fitzgerald 110). After the party, Gatsby is worried that Daisy did not have a good time. Nick reassures him that Daisy did have a good time. Fitzgerald writes that, He (Gatsby) wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: I never loved you (Fitzgerald 111). Gatsby becomes fixed on making everything like it was in the past with Daisy.
It seems as if Daisy is playing with Gatsbys emotions in the novel. She flirts around with Gatsby, but she still wants to be with Tom. In one incident in Chapter Seven, Gatsby is having lunch with the Buchanans, along with Nick and Jordan Baker. Tom receives a phone call from Myrtle. When he steps out of the room, Daisy walks up to Gatsby and kisses him. She murmurs to him, You know I love you (Fitzgerald 116). After lunch, they all decide to go into town for the afternoon. They end up going to a suite at the Plaza Hotel (Fitzgerald 126). It is here that Tom sort of teases Gatsby using Gatsbys favorite phrase, Old sport (Fitzgerald 127), and he also exploits the truth behind Gatsby being an Oxford man (Fitzgerald 129). Gatsby sees this as a chance to tell Tom that Daisy never loved him (Tom). He tells Tom, Your wife doesnt love you. Shes never loved you. She loves me (Fitzgerald 131). Gatsby also tells Tom that the only reason thats Daisy married him was because he (Gatsby) was poor. When Tom confronts Daisy about the truth, she admits that she never loved him. Then she says, I did love him once but I loved you (Gatsby) too (Fitzgerald 133). This statement crushed Gatsby.
Still showing off his arrogance and pride, Tom insists that Gatsby and Daisy ride back home together. They agree to this. On the way home, there is a fatal accident. Myrtle Wilson is killed by a hit and run. There were witnesses to the accident and the car described as being the hit car belonged to Gatsby. Later, while outside of the Buchanan residence, Nick sees Gatsby hiding in the bushes. Gatsby explains what happened prior to the accident. He says that Daisy was driving the car. Being the caring gentleman that he is, Gatsby offered to take up for Daisy and say that he was the driver. He even keeps watch outside of her home to make sure that Tom does not try anything foolish that would harm her. At the end of Chapter Seven, we see Daisy and Tom sitting in the kitchen, apparently, conspiring together (Fitzgerald 146).
In the last chapter of the novel, there is a murder-suicide committed by George Wilson. Wilson murders Gatsby in his pool. This love triangle ends violently because of Toms deliberate acts and lies. The readers feel sorry for Gatsby in the end because no one wants to come to his funeral. You would think that because Gatsby had a house full of guests at his parties, some of the partygoers would show up to pay their last respects. I do not believe that the feelings for Gatsby changed from beginning to the end for readers. Fitzgerald probably called him the Great Gatsby because of his great heart, his great personality, and his great spirit.
I also do not believe that the readers feelings for Tom and Daisy Buchanan changed either. From the beginning, these two were full of nothing but lies and deceitfulness. Some readers may feel remorse for Myrtle because she was killed, while some may feel as if she got what she deserved.
Sometimes you can fall too much in love and wind up getting hurt in the end. This is precisely what happened to Gatsby. What is it about Daisy that made the two men believe that she loved one more than the other? She is not very honest with either of the two and Tom is definitely not being honest at all either. I would say that the moral in this novel would be not to put all of your eggs in one basket. If you do, they will all get broken eventually, and you will not be able to mend them. For example, having a broken heart, spirit, or ego. In the novel, both Tom and Daisy lost their lovers. The couple end up moving away from East Egg, but, I can rest assure that they never forgot about what had happened and how many lives were ruined because of their cheating, lying, and deception.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribners Sons: New York, 1925.
Hall, Donald. Literary and Cultural Theory. Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 2001.