Carpe Diem means that one must cease the day and Gatsby seems to be living in the past, “He wanted nothing less of Daisy than... [to] go to Tom and say: ‘I never loved you.’ After she had obliterated four years with that sentence… they were to go back to Louisville and be married from her house—just as if it were five years ago”(116). Gatsby’s main focus and main reason for doing a lot of what he did was because of his love for Daisy; although he knows that she is now a married woman he still has hope of being with her. Gatsby is not seizing or taking advantage of every day because of his obsession over Daisy and of their past. Gatsby consciously ignores this important transcendental tenet and if he had read Walden he would have changed his mind about holding on to his past when he read, “Why should we live… and waste our life?” This transcendental tenet is the one that Gatsby needs the listen to the most, the disobedience of this tenet ultimately caused his death. For he only lived in his past that he so wanted so desperately to change versus shaping his future. In perspective to this transcendental tenet, Gatsby “wasted his life” for he did not take advantage of each and every day he was alive and did not contribute a positive to society even with his influence.
In the novel, The Great Gatsby, Gatsby’s ignorance of the transcendental teaching of simplicity, self-reliance and carpe diem allowed for the demise of the American dream and ultimately his death. Fitzgerald shows how easy it is to go against the teaching of transcendentalism and what happens if one lives that lifestyle. He provides a lesson that hopefully many readers will understand-- transcendentalism is and should always take part in people’s lives for the benefit of