I’ve read so many books this summer that I’ve forgotten most of the titles but the one book that has me still thinking after reading it several weeks ago, is The Great Gatsby.
So about a month or so ago, I decided to give in to the burning temptation to go see the movie adaptation The Great Gatsby. I usually have a rule about reading the book before seeing the movie, but honestly, who can resist the beautiful Leonardo DiCaprio for very long? Not me. I absolutely fell in love with the movie and the story told through out it, so I decided to go buy the book immediately. Thank the sweet Lord, The Great Gatsby is also on the list of books for college-bound readers! Woo!
Anywhoobie, that book is intense. I’m actually glad that I saw the movie first because it helped me to really understand all the things that were going on because sometimes it’s kind of difficult to follow. The one thing that I noticed that was always present in the story was the incredible deceit. I’m going to kind of explain some important characters before I go into everything.
So there’s Jay Gatsby, this mysterious, extremely rich guy that everyone has a different idea of. Some say he was a German spy, or the cousin of a Prince, or a murderer, all sorts of things. He’s hopelessly and obsessively in love with Daisy Buchanan, another millionaire that he had met five years previously. Daisy is the cousin of Nick Carraway, the narrator and next door neighbor of Gatsby. Nick Carraway is friends with Tom Buchanan, who he went to college with and is also the husband of Daisy. Nick is also involved with Jordan Baker, a famous golf player and Daisy’s best friend. Throughout the book, Nick becomes best friends with Gatsby, as well.
Everyone in this book lied or was sneaky about something or another. Jay Gatsby lied about his entire life. Gatsby and Nick were going to lunch together and during the car ride there, Gatsby wanted to dispel the rumors surrounding his name. Gatsby said, “I will tell you God’s truth..” as he was spewing total lies to Nick about his upbringing, his accomplishments, his money, everything. He told everyone that he was born into a very wealthy family that are “sadly all dead now,” and used his inheritance to “live like a young prince in all of the capitols of Europe” in his younger years before becoming a war hero and later went on to be educated at Oxford per family tradition. None of this was true. He was actually born into a dirt poor farm family and later ran away to start a new life. He was lucky enough to come upon the boat of a wealthy drunkard,Dan Cody, sailing into a storm and was able to steer him away from danger. The man took him under his wing and raised him to be a gentleman, but when he died Gatsby was cheated out of his inheritance by the other members of Dan’s family and was again, dirt poor. He went off to war, returned and was given the chance to attend college at Oxford University for free through the military but left after five months. After he came back to the States, he was still poor for a long while before becoming involved in the bootleg alcohol business and making his millions. He kept this facade going until the night before he was murdered. On top of this, he arranged for Daisy to come to Nick’s house for tea under the illusion that it was just going to be an afternoon spent with her cousin in his new house so that Gatsby could just “happen by” and run into Daisy while she was there. After they caught up, the two of them began having an affair behind the back of Daisy’s husband, Tom.
Daisy had been writing letters to Gatsby while he was at war, while she was engaged to Tom, completely unbeknownst to him. She had an affair with Gatsby five years later, while married to Tom. Up until the day that she was to tell Tom of the affair and leave him, Daisy had been telling Gatsby that she had always been in love with him and that she was going to run off with him. She never had any intentions to actually be with Gatsby permanently and she hadn’t even known that Gatsby was alive until that day at Nick’s house. She told Gatsby that she loved him more than anything else, yet she didn’t even attend his funeral a mere week after she last professed her undying love for him. Daisy had also been driving Gatsby’s car when she accidentally killed Tom’s mistress in a hit-and-run accident and lied to the very last page of the book by allowing Gatsby to take the blame for the murder.
Tom Buchanan cheated on Daisy throughout the entirety of their marriage and had a mistress in the industrial area between East Egg (where they lived) and New York during the book. He had an apartment and a whole double life outside of his life with Daisy. He was even friends with his mistress’ husband! After his mistress, Myrtle, was killed and her husband had found out that she had been cheating, Tom Buchanan told Wilson, Myrtle’s husband, that it was Gatsby that Myrtle had been seeing even though it was actually himself.
Nick knew about both affairs as they were happening and kept it to himself. He was able to spend time with Tom even while he knew that his best friend was sleeping with his wife. He would listen to Daisy, his own cousin, talk about how she knew that Tom had a mistress and pretend the entire time that he had no idea when he knew exactly who it was and had witnessed the affair in action. He knew all of these secrets and pretended to be everyone’s best friend even though he was lying to all of them.
Jordan and Nick had been seeing each other casually through the duration of the novel. In the last pages of the story, Nick went to speak with her after the death of Gatsby and she told him that she was engaged to another man, which was a lie. She was also aware of the affair between Daisy and Gatsby, but kept her mouth shut even though she spent the majority of her time in Tom and Daisy’s home.
Literally every single character in The Great Gatsby is fake. Nothing they say or do can be trusted to be honest. They are all extremely self-absorbed and incapable of being loyal to the people that love them the most. I thought at first that the most present theme in the book was love, but after actually thinking about the relationships and all of the secrets and lies, it’s very clearly deceit.