by Domi Finlay
How does Gatsby’s reconciliation with Daisy affect his character?
|"His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.”(pg.90). How does Gatsby’s reconciliation with Daisy affect his character?
The character of Jay Gatsby revolves around his infatuation with Daisy and their unobtainable relationship. Throughout the five years they are apart, Gatsby develops an elaborate plan to be reunited with Daisy, and seizes the opportunity to put his idea into action having discovered Nick’s tie to Daisy, as well as the propitious coincidence of his living next door to Gatsby’s mansion. In anticipation of the upcoming meeting, Gatsby’s character changes as nerves overcome his usual guarded temperament. It changes yet again after being bought together with Daisy once more, as he strives to impress her with wealth. In this essay I will explore the difference in Gatsby’s character through the evaluation of his nature before and after his reconciliation with Daisy. I will also asses the language Fitzgerald uses to describe Gatsby, and the themes that Gatsby embodies.
Before his reunification with Daisy, Gatsby is shown as a private man. “He doesn’t want any trouble with anybody,” giving the impression of insecurity and a past that he wants kept secret. People have to speculate about his life and nature, as shown in the rumours on page forty five. This reserved nature emits a sombre and solemn outlook, supported by the idea that he is always on the outside. Even at his own party, Gatsby stands on the outskirts, not involved with the festivities, aloof and physically detached: “no-one swooned backwards on Gatsby.” He is often isolated, seeming quite lonely in the “sudden emptiness” that surrounds him. Gatsby spends a lot of his time watching the “single green light” on Daisy’s dock. The colour green has connotations of hope, and new life, showing Gatsby’s never ending hope for Daisy and their past relationship. This hope is shown again on page seventy nine, shortly before his plan takes place. “Blazing with light” shows Gatsby as over spilling with hope for his plot to succeed. The idea that Gatsby bought his house specifically so that he would be directly across the bay from Daisy, illustrates his desperation for them to be reunited. Leading up to the meeting with Daisy, Gatsby loses his calm exterior and we are let into the nervous disposition behind the nonchalant façade. He is awake at two o’clock in the morning, enlightening us to his restless and nervous nature. Unlike the confident man we are previously shown, Gatsby “fumbled”, demonstrating his anxiety.
During his encounter with Daisy, Gatsby wears a “white flannel suit, silver shirt and gold-coloured tie.” He needs to show his wealth in order to impress Daisy. In the past, Daisy would not marry Gatsby due to his lack of connections and money. He is dressed crisply and smartly, the gold tie resembling the old money in a show of decadence and prosperity. This is the start of his bragging nature around Daisy. He fills his house with flowers, described as unnecessary, with the purpose of showing off his affluence with superfluous objects. This is reflected also in the shirts and the flamboyant way in which he presents them. He continually boasts about his wealth, where before he was a conserved, private man, with the aim of exciting Daisy and shows off his connections, mentioning the “celebrated people” with whom he is associated. Gatsby is revealed to be trying too hard with his “feigned sense of ease” and nonchalance. The atmosphere is awkward as Gatsby nerves overcome his composed disguise, differing from his casual confidence when talking to Nick at the party. His story begins to shift under the pressure of showing off to Gatsby, and perfecting all the details. “He has passed visibly through two states and was entering a third” depicts a mercurial nature to Gatsby, reveals the extent of the affect Daisy has on Gatsby. He is “consumed with wonder at her presence”, disbelieving that he finally has the chance to be with Daisy again and exposes his attraction to her and allowing the reader to believe he genuinely is in love with her. He is described as an “ecstatic patron of recurrent light” illustrating the joyous effect Daisy has on him, and his marvel at her closeness, yet before he is seen as sombre and solemn, completely contrasting his appearance around Daisy. However now that he has been reconciled with Daisy, the hope he had previously held is extinguished, and he is no longer full of optimism for Daisy, as shown by the loss in significance of the green light that had “now vanished forever.”
The language F. Scott Fitzgerald uses to describe Gatsby also changes after his reunion with Daisy. Before he is well mannered, “politely” speaking to people, yet we see him confront Tom in chapter seven, abruptly and almost rudely standing up to him. Fitzgerald uses words such as “stalked” and “sharply” to depict animalistic qualities and a hostile and territorial temperament to Gatsby, juxtaposing the previous polite Gatsby that we are accustomed to. “Gatsby got himself into a shadow” at first, having been reintroduced to Daisy, showing his awkwardness as he physically detaches himself from the situation. In contrast to this passive description, Gatsby is later described as “running down like and overwound clock.” He is frantic due to his nerves, again depicting his barometric disposition as he changes from submissive to agitated within a few instances.
Gatsby embodies several themes within ‘the Great Gatsby’, most of them related to his relationship with Daisy. He represents the American Dream, having built himself up from nothing by himself, specifically to attract Daisy and astound her with his wealth. Nonetheless he also portrays the corruption of the Dream, as he believes he can buy into the Dream and therefore buy happiness. He obviously epitomizes the theme of hope, never giving up on Daisy and being noted for an “extraordinary gift for hope.” Furthermore he represents possessiveness and jealousy in the way he covets Daisy and continually shows off his wealth and possessions. The final theme that Gatsby depicts is the idea of reality in comparison to illusion. Gatsby cannot distinguish between the reality of his love for Daisy and the illusion that he they can continue where they left their relationship, in the past. He believes that after his reconciliation with Daisy they can rewrite the years Daisy has been with Tom, and pretend that nothing happened in the five years that they were apart.
Overall, after his reconciliation with Daisy, Gatsby loses his nonchalant façade, at first becoming nervous and then becoming joyous with her proximity. He changes from being a private, conserved man to being boastful of his wealth in order to impress Daisy. He also becomes less polite, a territorial nature breaking through his well-mannered exterior as he stands up to Tom. The main change in Gatsby is the difference in his sombre outlook compared to the wonder he experiences at her presence, and his ecstasy at being reunited with her. Although the green light loses value for him, it is not due to disappointment with Daisy, it is simply due to his fulfilled optimism at her company.