Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Lois Tyson's essay on her psychoanalytical view of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald certainly makes some valid points. For instance, Lois Tyson draws the conclusion that Gatsby and Myrtle are pawns in the Buchanan's relationships. They are used to "avoid the emotional problems in their marriage."(pg. 46) And this observation is certainly true. Tyson also comments on how Myrtle and Gatsby also use the Buchanans to advance in social status, Gatsby to provide "emotional insulation"(pg. 48), and Myrtle to "acquire permanent membership in a world where she can display the impressive hauteur we see her enjoy at the party"(pg. 43). Neither Gatsby nor Myrtle truly love Daisy or Tom, but instead devote themselves to them as a means to an end: removal from their current situation and acceptance into a glamorous world. But somethings I believe Tyson misses or makes a mistake on. In the first part of her essay, Tyson writes that "for many non-psychoanalytical literary critics... Jay Gatsby is a larger-than-life romantic hero"(pg. 39). But I, as a, albeit unwilling, literary critic, don't see Gatsby as a hero, but more as a lost soul having the same ailment that everyone does: wanting what we can't have. Gatsby tries to make a fake semblance of the world he so desires to be a part of, but it crumbles before his eyes when he realizes that his one chance for an entrance into that world (Daisy) leaves him for good. Tom smashes her illusion of him in her eyes, and in him doing so, destroys his illusion of that faraway life, as Fitzgerald shows when he writes, "so he gave up that and only the dead dream fought on" (Gatsby, 142). Tyson comments on this later in her essay, but doesn't realize that this phenomenon is something we all deal with. The only thing unique is the means by which it occurs. Tyson overall writes superb essay, showing how every character has a fear of intimacy and actually no love exists between any of them. But that way of looking at it shows an extremely morbid viewpoint. I can't simply believe that no love ever existed anywhere in the Great Gatsby. I believe that Gatsby loved, for the lack of a better word, the idea of Daisy. His devotion and glorification of her almost deifies her to the point of making her God. And there are examples throughout the book of the higher class being God-like. Tom continually remarks on how the upper echelon needs to maintain their superiority by any means. T. J. Eckleburg's glasses add is constantly referred to as the eyes of God. The entire story is showing that class separation was so far apart at that point that the upper class's existence seemed impossible, becasue of their glorification throughout society. But this view is not from a psychoanalytical lens, and therefore will have to be analyzed another day. Gatsby does love his Daisy, the perfect woman, the one who will take him away from all his troubles, and it is his efforts to connect the real and perfect Daisy where his world shatters.