The Great Gatsby: Deception


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There are few American novels that are honest and captivating about human nature as Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. At the center of the novel, we discover the deep, dark secret of mankind: deception. The people of East and West Egg use one another for their own benefits and have no concern of the affect their actions may have on the people around them. As Nick Carraway narrates, we get a look into the lives of the wealthy which is merely lavish society surrounded by a wall of lies and deception. Looking inside this wall, everything seems perfectly in place; however, their money cannot buy them happiness and this is the reason for each character's use of deception.

There is deception everywhere in this novel and not even the married are saved from it. Daisy is beautiful, and travels, making her a known figure in many different circles; she also has a large bank account. Tom Buchanan, her husband, is very fortunate to be with her and should not do anything to risk this marriage; nevertheless, he is cheating on her with some one of a lesser social status. Myrtle Wilson, Tom's mistress, lives with her husband in the middle of East and West Egg: “The only building in sight was a small block of yellow brick sitting on the edge of the waste land; the third was a garage—Repairs. GEORGE B. WILSON” ( 29 ). It is terrible that Mr. Wilson does not even realize that his wife is carrying on an affair with another man. “She smiled slowly and, walking through her husband as if he were a ghost, shook hands with Tom, looking him flush in the eye” (29). Daisy has a high reputation and in order to keep that reputation, she makes sure to do nothing that would embarrass her: “They moved with a fast crowd, all of them young and rich and wild, but she came out absolutely perfect” (82). Tom has used Daisy for her social standing and her wealth; Tom would be cast out of the elite world if he left Daisy, making that option not even considerable. Deception is part of human nature, and, unfortunately, no on can escape from it.

Even though Tom is using Daisy, Daisy also uses Tom, but for different reasons. Nick unveils the fact that Daisy does not need Tom anything except his ability to provide her with the emotional stability that she needs. It becomes clear throughout the course of the story that Daisy and Gatsby loved each other very deeply; however, when Gatsby went away to war, Daisy found and married Tom. Daisy had hidden her love for Gatsby from Tom and everyone who surrounded her; thus, when Gatsby returned to tell her that he loved her, she did not know how to react to the situation because she had been hiding her love for so long. Daisy then began to see Gatsby never telling Tom what she was doing. Jordan told Nick that on the night before Tom and Daisy's marriage, “she [Daisy] was as drunk as a monkey. She had a letter. She began to cry—she cried and cried” (81). Daisy cried because she knew that she was not marrying Gatsby—her true love. Finally, five years later, Daisy breaks down and admits that she loves Gatsby but that she loved Tom as well. “Even alone I can't say that I never loved Tom” (140). Daisy used Tom as her support so that she would never feel lonely or neglected as she did when Gatsby left for the war.

Mr. Jay Gatsby has also used others for his own personal gain. Over the time that Gatsby and Nick become friends, Gatsby tells of his love for Daisy. As Daisy's cousin, Nick has the power to get both of them together. Gatsby sees this possibility and has Jordan call to set up a tea in hopes of just “running into” Daisy. Thus Jordan calls up and tells Nick that “‘He [Gatsby] wants to know if you'll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over. He wants her to see his house and your house is right next door'” (83-4). Gatsby is using Nick in order to see Daisy, and also Jordan to ensure that this meeting will occur. Also, Gatsby takes advantage of Nick's social status to progress his own dreams; “‘I don't want to do anything out of the way!' he [Gatsby] kept saying. ‘I want to see her right next door.'” This was Gatsby's plan—he wanted Daisy to see the difference between himself and Nick—Nick is poor whereas Gatsby is wealthy and his large house looks even bigger next to Nick's smaller one. Gatsby uses Nick for Daisy, but Nick never realizes it.

From Nick Carraway's perspective, he tells of how the people of West and East egg exploit each other's trust in hopes of receiving what they want. The people around Nick all wanted to attain some sort of feeling of happiness and were not concerned with who they might hurt in the process. The affluent recognized something that they wanted, so they used each other to get that satisfactory feeling, no concern with how temporary that happiness may be. Nick's narration reveals the degree the wealthy would go in order to receive what they desired. Nick's truthfulness and honest character throws a shadow upon the deception of the wealthy.

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