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Foolishness of Jay Gatsby

Narrated by a man’s neighbour, who never judges people, The Great Gatsby, a novel composed by F. Scott Fitzgerald, tells a tale of a man who tries to recreate a relationship with a woman whom he left to fight in World War I. Although separated by an expanse of water and social heritage, this man, James Gatz, or otherwise known as Jay Gatsby, tries to regain his former love, even though she has a husband and a daughter. Gatsby becomes a foolish person because of his blind pursuit of his former love. Although Gatsby’s quest could have developed into something admirable, he should consider himself foolish.

Gatsby’s search for his former love, Daisy Buchanan, is a blind and sightless pursuit. Gatsby displays this in many ways. He moves into West Egg so that he can see the light on Daisy’s dock and have an unreal connection with her. He throws fabulous parties every two weeks, hoping that Daisy will come to one and meet him there. As described by Nick as “At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough coloured lights to make a Christmas tree of his [Gatsby’s] enormous garden” (44) these parties were a sight indeed. Gatsby also breaks the law by illegally selling liquor during the prohibition era. He does this to make money and to impress Daisy.

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Gatsby also thinks that repeating the past is possible. The first time Gatsby sees Daisy after he left for the war he acts as if nothing had happened and that he had stayed home the whole time. Gatsby thinks it possible to repeat the past when he says, “’can’t repeat the past, why of course you can!’” (116). He also invites Daisy over to Nick’s house for tea and picks up the conversation just as if there had been no war.

Gatsby also raises money illegally by selling liquor during the prohibition era to show off his wealth and to impress Daisy. Gatsby raises money by starting a chain of ‘drugstores’ (with Meyer Wolfshiem )that sell illegal liquor, a rich gambler and bootlegger. Tom tells it like it is: “He and Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drugstores here…and sold grain alcohol over the counter”(141). Gatsby becomes an extremely foolish man here because he puts another man in jail for the crimes that he and Wolfsheim committed.

Although foolish, Gatsby should be admired for his perseverance and faithfulness in his search for his goal. Gatsby’s quest develops into a foolish one because he raises and uses illegal money to impress and show-off in front of Daisy when he meets her again. Gatsby also returns to find that Daisy has married and given birth to a child in his absence, and he ignores this and acts as if he had never left at all. Overall, Gatsby’s quest is a blind and sightless pursuit because he makes all this money and waits five years to buy a house just so he can see the light on Daisy’s dock.

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Foolishness of Jay Gatsby. (2021, Feb 28). Retrieved July 12, 2021, from