Talking About Jay Gatsby English Literature Essay

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Talking about Jay Gatsby, he is a fiction character that represents the craziness of the 20`s, his only big dream is catching Daisy`s attention, his young love; and for getting this purpose, he did everything and more for getting rich, buying a huge and gorgeous house in front of daisy`s house, giving extravagant parties every night hopping that maybe his dearest would assist to one and finally her heart and love would be his property. On the other side of the coin, Ernesto Che Guevara was a real man that because of his own experiences, in a very particular and special Latin-American journey, changed his mind and his priorities took a different order. Ernesto saw how poor people, some of them native Indians who used to be owners of portions of land, were being abused by people with money and power, suffering many injustices with no opportunities to complain. All this issues were a big inspiration for Ernesto, who dedicates his life for what he believed to be fair.

"The philosophical theory which maintains that the ultimate nature of reality is based on the mind or ideas. In the philosophy of perception, idealism is contrasted with realism in which the external world is said to have an apparent absolute existence. Epistemological idealists (such as Kant) claim that the only things which can be directly known for certain are just ideas (abstraction)".

The story developed in the books is guided by the life and hopes of the characters, their own idealism about how to live. Idealism is defined as:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia {on line} (2010). Aviable from: Accessed 19 July 20010

As Kant held, human being shape the world as he perceives it, taking the form of space and time; in other words, every person in this world observes the reality in a singular way, because it depends on the experiences and the kind of personality and values that a person have in order to build his own perspective of the world. In the Great Gatsby, its characters, mainly Jay Gatsby, share some similar ideals related to the upper class standard of living, dominated by the power of money, big parties, beautiful houses with expensive furniture, trips to Europe and more; where for having a good and happy marriage a woman most marry with someone with money, preferably "old money". The people in this book seem to live in a "perfect world" were poorness does not exist or they are just too busy with their "important" social activities that they do not care a little bit about it. For this reason, their ideals are based in superficial issues as for example the superiority of white race and men over women. On the contrary, in Motorcycle diaries the young "Che" was full of idealism of a better world and romance. Ernesto observed for first time the reality of the Latin American continent, and he found a place full of diverse people and culture, but also full of injustices, including big socio-economical inequalities. This was the beginning of a new "Che", the socialist one, who dreamed of creating an egalitarian society. Ernesto demonstrated this belief in the way he expressed his feeling in his diary, the words that he chose for telling the events and the remarkable change in his deepest thoughts, being witness of power abuse situations, as he wrote (Ernesto Guevara 2004):

"The mestizo curator was very knowledgeable with a breathtaking enthusiasm for the race whose blood flowed in his veins. He spoke to us of the splendid past and the present misery, of the urgent need to educate the Indians.... The semi-indigenous features of the curator, his eyes shining with enthusiasm and his faith in the future, constituted one more treasure of the museum, but a living museum, proof of a race still fighting for its identity"(Guevara 2004:117)

In this poetic fragment, Guevara´s perception of the world can be implicitly inferred. This was one of many moments when "I" become "we" in his mind and heart.

Both characters took decisions about what to do for getting their purposes according to what they think would be the best way. Having each one different perception of the world and the situation in what they were involved, they acted according to their moral. The term Morality comes from the Latin moralities "manner, character, proper behavior" being defined as:

"Sense of behavioral conduct that differentiates intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and bad (or wrong). A moral code is a system of morality (for example, according to a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc.) and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code"

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia {on line} (2010). Aviable from: Accessed 19 July 2010.

"Moral development is the product of aspects of the super-ego as guilt-shame avoidance".

The studies of moral psychology say that morality is a process that changes through personal development, the famous psychoanalyst Sigmud Freud affirmed that:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia {on line} (2010). Aviable from: Accessed 19 July 2010.

That is, people used to accommodate their morality to justify their "not so proper" behavior. In the Great Gatsby, there is a very comfortable change in the morality status, showing even some contradictions in more than one character. At the beginning of this story, Nick Carraway comments about his values and about his father`s advice, which makes guess Nick`s personality as a good man with incorruptible principles; but later he is shown as a kind of person that accept infidelity and cheating acts without any problem at all. Tom Buchanan, a person who seems to love his wife in a particular way, cheat his wife with another woman, but when he knew about his wife`s affair, his morals changed abruptly, reacting immediately against that relationship. Jay Gatsby did not care about doing whatever he had to (even corrupt issues) just to get Daisy's love. All these acts, socially incorrect, were committed because of a change in their morality perspective. Conversely, in Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto`s values and morals were maintained along the whole story, if they suffered some kind of change, it could be increasing his social conscious. Because of his experiences in this journey, he realized that there was something wrong about the relation between human beings, some people were getting everything and some people were getting nothing or too little. All this problems were observed due to his personal perspective of what is morally right. It must be mentioned that morality is a subjective term, and for this reason no one can say what is correct or what is incorrect according to morality. But, usually causing harm can be described as an immoral act.

There were different economic systems that participated in each book. In The Great Gatsby the Capitalism system was the protagonist, while in Motorcycle Diaries it was the Socialism. These economic theories are totally opposite, and they play an important role in the development of both stories. Capitalism is defined as:

"an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned; supply, demand, price, distribution, and investments are determined mainly by private decisions in the free market, rather than by the state through central economic planning or

Through democratic planning; profit is distributed to owners who invest in businesses, and wages are paid to workers employed by businesses"

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia {on line} (2010). Aviable from: Accessed 19 July 2010.

In the case of Great Gatsby, the capitalism is observed in this upper class atmosphere, where money is the main object of everyone`s desire. Even for getting someone`s love, to be happy, or deciding where you are going to build your house for living (east egg/west egg), money was a crucial player. The power of the capitalism and the adoration of money, were important issues in this book that influenced almost all the decisions made in it. Moreover, the principles and values of Motorcycle Diaries were full of socialist ideas. Socialism is defined as: 

"Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods"

Miriam-Webster dictionary {online} (2010) Aviable from: Accessed 19 July 2010.

If at the beginning of this book the young "Che" did not show a great socialist spirit, because his only reason why he and his friend started the journey was for knowing the Latin-American continent and for getting fun in different new places that they were supposed to know; during the progress of the story the socialist principles began to emerge in his soul. The environment full of injustices that caught Ernesto`s attention made huge internal changes in this young and dreamer man. At the end of this book, Guevara knew that there was something wrong because there were so many people that were suffering horrible injustices due to decisions that benefited a special breed of citizens, who somehow were supposed to be superior. To make something to change that situations it would be difficult, but deep down, he felt the necessity of trying.

As a conclusion, the road that a person chose as his life seems to be strongly influenced by his own idealism, morals and experiences that shape someone`s personality. In the case of these two stories of life, the respective characters personalities and way of thinking were caused for the reality that they were living, in other words, for good or for bad; they were shaped for living a life with determinate characteristics. In the Great Gatsby, the life conditions which its characters were subjected gave rise to the kind of person they proved to be. Daisy was raised as a perfect wife, who must obey her husband without contradicting at all, because she had to fulfill the role of a high society woman; as consequent, she lived an unhappy life away from the man who seemed to love. Tom was a typical high society American man, who somehow, he had the right to do whatever he wanted to, because it was kind of permitted by his socio-economical status, developing a spoiled personality and a life full of appearances. Gatsby was a man who because of his young years of modest economic situation and a young love thwarted by this condition, developed a superficial personality, based on material goods, which is reflected in his lifestyle. Finally, in the book Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto was a person who began his journey without any major concerns or ideals, or even less in search of a mission, but in the course of his journey, influenced by the experiences and ideals that he found inside his heart, changed his fate, finding his life's mission.