Endless Pursuits

 

     The Great Gatsby, a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is one of few deserving American Classics that have survived through extensive and precarious ages. Gatsby’s story is narrated by a morally upright man of the bond business, Nick Carraway. Carraway recently rented a schlocky home amongst contrasted enormous palaces of an aristocratic community known as East Egg, just barely separated from New York.

     The East Egg seems to resemble Westport, Connecticut, temporary home of Fitzgerald himself. The story’s setting, in turn, is only fabricated rather fictionalized. There were many luxurious homes designed by the wealthy of New York with intent to attract a large crowd for extravagant parties. The parties, of course, were only held with a hope of being published in the press.

 

[Spoilers Ahead]

 

     Likewise, Nick Carraway’s neighbor, Jay Gatsby, is a prominent man well known for his wondrous, unforgettable parties. The only difference? - Gatsby’s intentions.

     Advancing through the plot we learn that Gatsby has strong affections he presumes love towards a beautiful, wedded, lady who went by the name, Daisy Buchanan. However, Gatsby's love towards Daisy lied in the idea of who he'd thought her to be.

     She lived just across the bay from Gatsby, evidently, not a mere coincidence. At the end of every week, Gatsby threw lavish parties in an attempt to attract Daisy, and he would often ask his guests if they knew of her. After countless parties with no word of Daisy, Nick receives an invitation to Gatsby’s party, the first invitation ever sent out. Everyone else who came to his parties would simply, show up. At the party, Nick obviously meets the host Gatsby and after much trouble, Gatsby comes out with his request of a simple “accidental” tea with Daisy. From which we see: Gatsby holds high devotion for Daisy, he waits five years to finally see her once again. When he finally re-acquaintances with his ex-fiance, Gatsby never ceases to be a patient gentleman. Inexorably, the two fall in love once again, and Gatsby strikes happiness once more.

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     Why is it that when humans feel the least in love with anything they pursue to find the happiness desired? Furthermore, why do they allow themselves to ask more than what happiness they need?

     Gatsby begins to push it so far that [Giant Spoiler] he ends up covering Daisy’s drunk driving, and Gatsby is epically murdered for revenge in the lavish pool he’d never swam in. Gatsby wished for Daisy to say she never loved her husband, that she loved Gatsby and only Gatsby now and always.

     The funeral? Daisy never attended.

     Soon we see Daisy shows her true colors. The seeming innocent, loving, caring, charming young woman proves to be all the opposite. Daisy doesn’t care for the murder she caused, it was only a poor lady, she was certain such a life couldn’t have meaning. Even more, as soon as the comfort of Gatsby’s arms leaves, Daisy runs off with it back to her old husband who she’d come to good terms with once more.

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“No--Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and shortwinded elations of men”

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     Imagine a thirsty man begging for water, that when he received a bottle of, he’d refuse to drink because: “It’s not enough to satisfy the immense thirst.” Even worse but more common, the man doesn’t notice the bottle in his two hands and spends his life looking for a rock to satisfy his thirst.

     The truth of happiness that literature teaches is nothing more - We always want more than we have and never settle with what we’ve always earned.

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"Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore."

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     Fahrenheit 451 is a classic dystopian novel, by Ray Bradbury, of similar status. Contradictory to the old age of Gatsby, this novel takes place in a futuristic society with a Government of no moral. The novel begins describing the effect and culture of ideas the world of F451 was to live by. The reader is shown a pathetic mass population drawn to believe exactly what the government endorsed media fed them. To guarantee the mindlessness of civillians all forms of individuality are looked down upon.

    Guy Montag is a firefighter of this world. The only abnormality is that the firemen here live to burn, not to save.

   Specifically of which-to burn knowledge. This brings forth one of the books major themes of censorship as we learn that an intellectual is now no more than an outlaw. 

   Guy Montag was nothing much extraordinary, rather the sequence of loss and suffering pushed him to peruse what he believed in with thought he had nothing much more likely to lead to a success. A special girl Montag meets, Clarrise loved all of the things about Montag, and often questioned what contents of the book made it so beyond unacceptable in the world she lived in. [More Spoilers]  The striking death of Clarrise gave Montag reason to peruse knowledge and his overdosing wife led him to believe the worst downfall isn't much less than the life he now lives. 

      So, Montag runs to begin his journey to discover what contents of literature are worth hiding and to see as much as can before abation became extinction. 

     The bigger picture is the entire government's inability to find themselves happy with society. Every piece of literature could somehow potentially hurt someone, somewhere, for so it seemed. More than anything, the government created a society bound to collapse on itself with its futile efforts to keep what they needed from them. They didn’t know where they’d find happiness and continued to follow the wrong path until it’s past too late.

     The distant eras of The Great Gatsby and Farenheit 451 are futile in breaking the bridge between the two. As the stories develop to the end we see that the endless pursuit to achieve happiness falls in a false direction, the pursuit of happiness lies in plain sight, and has constantly been pushed out of view.





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