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The Great Gatsby Essay

1223 words - 5 pages

A circus is an ensemble of talented performers, artists, trainers, and vendors who turn empty fields into a phenomenal place where acrobats fly over crowds, trainers tame wild animals and magicians amaze audiences all while under the control of the leading man - the ringmaster. The ringmaster, the most visible performer and most important part of the show, maintains an exposition capable of captivating an audience. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby exemplifies such a character. The life Gatsby creates becomes a circus act that, in the end, prevents him from reclaiming Daisy Buchanan’s love.
Everyone at Gatsby’s parties becomes an act in his great circus because the ...view middle of the document...

Of all the performances at his parties, Gatsby’s extravagant persona differs the most from reality. “The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself” (98). James Gatz constructs the character of Jay Gatsby to become the most interesting, affluent, and notable version of himself to attract as many people as possible. He hopes that Daisy will, one day, wander into one of his grand parties just by chance, if he can show off the most exciting acts and bring in the most characters. He becomes the leading man of his circus with the party-goers engrossed in the vast array of performances.
Gatsby failure to see the gaudiness he associates with rich, wealthy, upper class, as incorrect, ultimately causes him to seem improper to those he seeks to impress. The upper class, the Buchanans of the world, find his gaudiness comparative to a circus, wild, untamed, and offensive. Tom illustrates this when he calls Gatsby’s car a “circus wagon” (121). Tom sees Gatsby's choice of a flashy, yellow Rolls-Royce, as Gatsby obnoxiously attracting attention to himself. Tom’s reaction to this demonstrates the upper classes’ disdain for those who ostentatiously display wealth as those people appear desperate in their desire to perceived as elite. Tom also criticizes Gatsby when, astonished by the notion Gatsby is "an Oxford man,” Tom exclaims, “like hell he is! He wears a pink suit" (122). Gatsby’s pink suit and flamboyant lifestyle conflict with the conservative ideas Tom believes in. Even the color of the suit - pink, which represents false innocence and naive perspective - conveys Gatsby’s naïvete towards his misconceptions. Gatsby constructs an image of the higher class from his lowly position: abundant wealth, alcohol, and parties with vibrant clothing, and over the top decor similar to a circus. However, the true, traditional, upper class are content without such pretentious gestures. The Buchanans exemplify this by decorating their house with white. They do not feel as though they need to make it obvious how much gold they own by embellishing everything with golden yellow qualities, and instead stay conservative in their presentation of themselves, remaining pure with white decor. Unable to join Tom’s world of white, Gatsby become a spectacle. He grabs people’s attention, but those whom he desires to impress ultimately see him in a negative, yellowed light.
Gatsby’s existence within his facade and his misconstrued view of Daisy’s world prevent him from obtaining a real relationship with...

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