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The Great Gatsby – Love or Obsession

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Love is a powerful emotion that every human being has experience at least once in their life. There are numerous connotations that refer to this emotion, but there is only one kind of love that can make a person change completely in unexpected ways. It is the kind of love that consumes the soul and everything within. Mixed with excitement, adventure, heartbreak, happiness and joy; it is a big ball of feelings, all concentrated in one simple, yet extremely complicated necessity to have, protect, please and give all of oneself to that one person. In certain occasions, love can grow very intense and, consequently, get out of hand. When this happens it is denominated obsession.

But, what really is the difference between obsession and love? The line between these two terms is very thin, because love it’s not supposed to be a will to possess that one person, but to hold them dear to one’s heart. In the novel, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, it can be witness this misconception of love between the characters Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, whom say to be deeply in love with one another. The author portrays the inaccuracy of love and obsession through Gatsby’s persona. This character, which the story revolves around, came from a very poor family, but as he grew up he decided to run away and went on in a risky mission to find better opportunities, because he believed that he was meant to do great things in life. Throughout the novel, the story of Gatsby and his, so-called, endless love for Daisy unfolds into a greater meaning.

Primarily, Gatsby was enchanted with this beautiful and rich girl that every man in town wanted to have. She was the golden girl, the one thing he needed more than anything else. When Gatsby ran away from home he had his mind set up to become a successful wealthy man, but when he met Daisy all of that just didn’t matter anymore. He turned numb towards the dreams he once wanted to achieve, and he knew it: “He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God.” (Chapter 6) Gatsby was fully aware of the consequences he would have to confront if he allowed himself to fall for her, but Daisy just left him mesmerized.

However, when Gatsby went to war and left Daisy behind, she got despaired and without thinking it twice she married Tom. After Gatsby heard the news, he went back to Louisville, the place where he and Daisy met, and there he relived every memory he possessed with this girl, because it was all he had left. “He stayed there a week, walking the streets where their footsteps had clicked together through the November night and revisiting the out-of-the-way places to which they had driven in her white car… He left, feeling that if he had searched harder, he might have found her – that he was leaving her behind.” (Chapter 8) Even though Daisy was married to Tom, Gatsby never lose hope to have her back. He believed that she only unite herself to Tom because Gatsby was penniless and she was tired of waiting for him to came back to her. And so he lived on with this illusion on his head. Gatsby based all his life, from that point forward, in only one goal: to get Daisy back and rekindle the love neither of them abandoned, but only left in pause. Furthermore, Daisy grew in Gatsby, more like a purpose than someone he just wanted to cherish.

“When I said you were a friend of Tom’s, he started to abandon the whole idea. He doesn’t know very much about Tom, though he says he’s read a Chicago paper for years just on the chance of catching a glimpse of Daisy’s name.” (Chapter 4) Aside from building his fortune, Gatsby keep the lingering hope faithfully, but this time Daisy turn into an achievement for Gatsby to obtain: like the American Dream. “Her voice is full of money.” (Chapter 7) Daisy became the Holy Grail for Gatsby and she represented everything he ever wanted in life. Maybe he believed that having Daisy would mean that he had, finally, escaped that past he had of being a poor nobody. Nevertheless, Gatsby’s undoing was, at the end, his adamant wanting to regain Daisy. All in all, as presented through this work, Gatsby was indeed in love with Daisy for the most part, in the beginning of their relationship, but it all change when Gatsby lost Daisy and so he let himself believed that his past was the one to blame for this circumstances.

It is after this, that Gatsby became rather obsessed with the idea of Daisy and having a lovely future with her, because having her meant having it all: stability, confidence, love, happiness and so on. Also, it meant that he had succeeded in life as a whole. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . And then one fine morning— So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (Chapter 9) All his life, Gatsby intended to escape his past but he also wanted to take part of it and live it in his present. He was obsessively trying to make his way against the current, trying to get back to a stage in his life where he froze time, but only in his mind. Gatsby turned to be a foolish young man that believed that wanting something so badly could make it come true, but then again it only happens in fairytales.

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