Double Vision in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby Essay

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The Great Gatsby:  Double Vision                

F. Scott Fitzgerald once stated that the test of a first rate intelligence was the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. This intelligence he describes is characterized by the principle of “double vision.” An understanding of this is essential to the understanding of many of Fitzgerald’s novels. “Double vision” denotes two ways of seeing. It suggests the tension involved when Fitzgerald sets two things in opposition such that the reader can, on one hand, sensually experience the event about which Fitzgerald is writing, The foundation
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Until Daisy finally rejects Gatsby is the reader is able to believe in both alternates because he has seen them both from the perspective of Gatsby (who believes) and Nick (who wants to believe but intellectually can’t).

The scene in which this idea of double vision is readily apparent, is the reunion between Gatsby and Daisy after a five-year separation. Gatsby has spent most of the years in an aggressive for wealth, which he ultimately believes will win Daisy over. On the other hand, Daisy seems to have given little thought to Gatsby, which is witnessed by her marriage to Tom. The reunion has different effects on both parties involved: it means everything to Gatsby, but very little to Daisy, other than a diversion from the luxuriousness of her daily living.

This scene is the dramatic high point of the novel. The previous chapters are preparing the reader to reach this point. The image of Daisy’s desirability is followed with an image of Gatsby staring across the bay at a green light across from Daisy’s dock; The image of the emptiness of the Buchanans’ world followed by the valley of ashes, a huge dumping ground where Tom’s mistress lives; the open public gathering of Gatsby’s lavish parties set against the mysterious privacy of Gatsby’s life. The reader is yet to realize what Gatsby, Jordan, and Nick already know: Gatsby wants to

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