In the novel “The great Gatsby”, the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald explores the conditions of the human heart through relationships that occur in this story. The relationships between Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Myrtle and Tom, Myrtle and George Wilson and Nick and Jordan, all are flawed by the selfishness of individuals and lack of actual love. Fitzgerald compares this to the time era the novel is set in, the 1920’s. This was a time of “false” security in that the economy was going to stay high foreverthe crash soon followed and false hope in the American dream.
The relationships like this false sense of security looked good, but were built on nothing and so “crashed”. The contrast to this was the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby, although not successful, it was built on something more than the selfish and shallow needs of individuals. The first relationship that is explored in this novel is Daisy and Tom Buchanan. Their relationship is one that looks ideal. Tom is the typical hero, one of the most powerful ends at New Haven, hulking muscle mass with a personality to match and very wealthy.
Daisy is the very beautiful, soft spoken and witty girl in which everyone loves. Together they perfect examples of the American dream. But as we see at Nick’s first visit to the Buchanan’s, there is a sense of real love lacking from their relationship, shown by their interactions. “It’s romantic, isn’t it, Tom? ” The relationship is based on money and the social scene of the wealthy rather than actual love for each other. But because they are similar characters in the way that their values are built on money and wealth, they do stay together and why Daisy doesn’t marry Gatsby.
â€¦retreated back into their money or vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together,â€¦” Tom feels the lack of love from his relationship with Daisy, but is too stupid to actually realise it, and because that is the relationship he “should” according to the American dream be in, will never realise it. We see this in his restless behaviour. “â€¦Tom would drift on forever, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game. ” This is what makes Tom have mistresses such as Myrtle Wilson.
This relationship replaces what lacks from his relationship with Daisy. “â€¦no facet or gleam of beauty, but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about herâ€¦” Although he does love Myrtle and they are very affectionate, he could never marry her as she is not from a wealthy background. The relationship between George and Myrtle is the raw product of this “American dream. ” Just as shallow and hopeless as other relationships such as Daisy and Tom’s, but without the money to cover it up and make it look pretty.
Significantly, they live in the Valley of Ashes, which is the depiction of the wealthy peoples souls, dirty and lifeless. The reason Myrtle and George do stay together for that 11 years is because of security and there being nothing else. The emptiness of this relationship is illustrated by Myrtle’s selfishness and uncaring to George’s feelings when she starts seeing Tom. The irony to this is that she is drawn to Tom by this false sense of hope that he is going to save her. Even though he often treats her badly, “â€¦he broke her nose with his open hand. She is drawn to him because he is wealthy and brawn, everything a woman “should” be attracted to. This selfishness and lack of real love is what stops the relationship between Nick and Jordan from being successful.
This was dictated by their unpassionate, almost protective personalities. There relationship was never based on anything except keeping each other company and filling a gap they both had. “â€¦so I drew up the girl beside me, tightening my arms. ” There was no real connection between them, that “girl” could have been anyone.
Even though Jordan was obviously hurt when Nick wanted to break up with her, this wasn’t because she loved him, but because he surprised her that he would do that, being poorer, and also that she did in fact enjoy his company. Nick was in love with Jordan, but knew he just loved the company and because of the previous events that occurred in his move east, he had had enough and knew he had to leave. The one relationship that was built on something more than the selfish needs of individuals was the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby.
They shared something special and were actually in love. “â€¦they looked back at me, remotely, possessed by intense life. ” But again, selfishness of an individual plagued the hopes of this one true relationship. Because Gatsby’s wealth status did not fit Daisy’s ideals American dream He was forced to leave her in search of money. Because he was so in love, he didn’t think twice about the ridiculousness of what he was doing,, and how selfish it was of Daisy to expect him to do so.
And even though he did get his fortune, this still did not satisfy Daisy. Tom had “old” money, the lifestyle, the personality. This is what Daisy was used to and married Tom for. “Her voice was full of money. ” It was something Gatsby would never have as we see by her dislike to Gatsby’s parties and so, in the end Daisy stays with Tom. I don’t think Fitzgerald is trying to say that there is no hope for true love to succeed, He is just saying that the human heart is easily blinded by such things as the American dream.
This is exaggerated at this time era because there was so much hope in the economy and in money, that people lost sight of what would really bring them true happiness. The unsuccessfulness of Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship really shows us how much of a shame it is that true love is destroyed by selfishness and I think it is Fitzgerald’s warning to the reader, not to be blinded by money and other shallow temptations, as we will end up as depressed as the characters in his novel.