Gatsby had built up this incredible illusion of what Daisy really was, and had gone off the deep end in throwing himself after her. Weinstein (p. 25) quotes from pages 102-103 of the novel:
"There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams -- not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion." It is typical of Fitzgerald to use a phrase like "…the colossal vitality of his illusion," a very skillful way of saying the character Gatsby was stuck in a fantasy world, a naive place, and he believed that Daisy was something more than she really was. Weinstein believes that Fitzgerald is "committed to the project of making things from nothing" and in this case he made Daisy up to be more than she really was. Some writers would call that infatuation, or idealizing someone beyond their actual worth. Fitzgerald possibly was making things up from nothing because that would be a reflection of how many new rich people got money from doing nearly nothing, took that money and build mansions out of nothing.
Gatsby was fascinated, even mesmerized by Daisy's voice. "Daisy began to sing with the music in a husky, rhythmic whisper, bringing out a meaning in each word that it had never had before and never would have again" (Fitzgerald, p. 115 of Gatsby). Echoing the theme he presented that the novel has people making something up from nothing, on page 30 Weinstein quotes from narrator Nick that Gatsby's parents were "unsuccessful farm people" and Gatsby's imagination had "never really accepted them as his parents at all…the Truth was that Jap Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself" (Fitzgerald, p. 105). Everything is there in this novel, Weinstein asserts;...
But there is the mystery of just whom Gatsby was to be addressed, and what were his origins? Authors Janet Giltrow and David Stouck write that Gatsby was rumored to be "…a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilhem" (Giltrow, et al., 1997, p. 277). He was also -- a claim he made for himself -- the "…scion of a wealthy, English-educated family," according to the narrator, Giltrow writes (p. 277). Nick eventually learns that Gatsby is really a man named James Gatz, whose parents were "shiftless and unsuccessful farm people" who hailed from North Dakota (and not Minnesota, where Fitzgerald was actually from), Giltrow continues.
While Gatsby was eager to leave his past behind, he needed also to change his name. At seventeen he moves into a world of "reveries" where on nights that are lighted by the moon "The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed" (Fitzgerald, p. 105) Giltrow explains. In his lust for wealth and acceptance by the upper crust, Gatsby throws himself at Daisy, who is "the embodiment of both success and the unknown," Giltrow explains. Her class of privileged people makes her, to Gatsby, "the embodiment of both success and the unknown" and when he kisses her and loves her he is, Nick explains, "following…a grail" (Giltrow, p. 478).
Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America. New York: Little, Brown, 1959 (reprint).
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. San Francisco: The Arion Press, 1984.
Giltrow, Janet, and Stouck, David. "Style as Politics in The Great Gatsby." Studies in the Novel
Vol. 29, 476-490.
Hoffman, Frederick John. The Great Gatsby: A Study. New York: Scribner, 1962.
Library of Congress. "The American Dream." Retrieved Nov. 2, 2010, from http://memory.loc.gov/learn/lessons/97/dream/thedream.html.
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