The Great Gatsby Archetype Analysis

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One of Jay Gatsby’s most prominent characteristics is his obsession with the past and his perseverance in returning there. The last page in The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, focuses on Nick’s final analysis of Gatsby and why he was unable to obtain his ultimate goal-- Daisy. In doing so, Nick uses Gatsby as an archetype for humanity and its constant struggle with lingering in the past. The passage is written after Gatsby is killed by Mr. Wilson and his funeral is attended by only Nick and Gatsby’s father. Nick writes this chapter as he travels back to the West, and is able to look back on his time in the East with Gatsby objectively. The night before Nick leaves East Egg, he ventures back to Gatsby’s house to reminisce on his adventure. …show more content…
The settlers saw “a fresh, green breast of the new world”, just as Gatsby saw the green light. The color green is used throughout the book to symbolize opportunity and future. Gatsby hoped that Daisy would be his future just as the Dutch settlers hoped that this land would be theirs. Fitzgerald writes that the men were “face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his (their) capacity for wonder”. Although this literally refers to the fact that North America was the last continent discovered that offered a chance for reinvention for the settlers, this high expectation of the land can also be seen in Gatsby. Nick’s first view of Gatsby was late at night when Gatsby was yearningly reaching his hand towards the green light, which the reader now knows symbolized Daisy. Both Gatsby and the settlers strove for their dreams; however, one looked forward and one looked back. Nick also characterizes the settlers and their experience very romantically by stating that they “had a capacity for wonder”. In chapter one, Nick says that Gatsby had a special gift of “romantic readiness”, a gift specific to him; however, this optimism was also seen in the original creators of “The American Dream”. The settlers’ first view of the land turned into “The American Dream”, one of idealism and …show more content…
In chapter five, after Daisy and Gatsby’s reunion, Nick sees Gatsby knock down a clock and catch it with trembling hands. This shows how fragile the past is to Gatsby and how carefully he wants to keep it intact. Nick explains that Gatsby’s dream was “behind him, somewhere back in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.” The country imagery illustrates the original “American Dream” as bountiful and full of aspiration to move forward. Gatsby’s relationship with Daisy was in the past and, instead of trying to create a future with her like the original Dutch settlers tried to do with their dreams, he tried to recreate his relationship with her and refuse to acknowledge their current situation. In chapter six, Gatsby complains to Nick that all he wants is for Daisy to tell Tom she doesn’t love him. Nick explains to him that there are consequences that would come with that because of their circumstances; however, Gatsby responds with: “‘Can’t repeat the past?’ He cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’” (110). Gatsby’s preoccupation with recreating his and Daisy’s relationship holds him back from creating a new relationship with her and causes him to ultimately fail. This point is reinforced in this passage, as well, when Nick says that Gatsby’s “dream must have seemed so close that he

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