Culture and America in Great Gatsby Essay

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A Lack of Real Friendship in The Great Gatsby

Money and wealth may not be lacking in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby—but friendship is. On the surface, it appears that several characters are friends, and indeed they are friendly at times towards one another. But there is always the hint or suggestion of an ulterior motive lying just beneath the surface—whether it is Gatsby using Nick to get closer to Daisy, Tom using Myrtle for personal pleasure, or the guests at Gatsby’s parties using him to have a good and reckless time that they could never enjoy elsewhere. The fact that Nick ends up alone, leaving the East and heading back to the Midwest indicates that he failed to find true friendship in the novel. Friendship is about caring for and giving oneself to another person—yet the characters in the novel all seem so inherently selfish that no one can be happy or at peace. This paper will show how no two characters are truly friends.

Nick and Tom are friendly but not true friends. Tom is too impulsive and consumed with his own passions in order to really be a true friend. This is apparent in the scene where Tom invites Nick to the city (along with Tom’s mistress Myrtle), but all Nick finds there is more excess that appalls him. Nick and Tom do not connect in a close or personal manner and neither appears willing to dedicate oneself to the other for the sake of the other. Tom is a user, and Nick is simply along for the ride.

Nick and Gatsby are former war veterans and served in the same division in World War I. They are friendly with one another, but not true friends.
Gatsby basically uses Nick to get to Daisy (for whom he has been throwing all these lavish parties) in the scene where Nick invites his cousin to tea only so that Gatsby can surprise her and express his love for her once more. Were Nick and Gatsby true friends, there would not be the ulterior motive in Gatsby’s ambitions. He would simply accept Nick as a friend for the sake of friendship. He does not: he wants more—he wants Daisy.

Gatsby and Daisy are not true friends, either. Gatsby loves Daisy and she loves him—but she is also married to Tom, and it is with Tom that she ultimately stays in their last scene together when Tom confronts Gatsby and forces Daisy to choose. Their marriage certainly is not perfect, but Daisy will not commit to Gatsby; their love proves to be ephemeral and not truly deep like the love that accompanies true friendship. Daisy abandons Gatsby once more and Gatsby’s fate is the result of his attempt to thrust himself into a life that really had no room for him in the first place.

Friendship is important—and Nick appears to be looking for it through most of the novel. He is attracted to but at the same time repulsed by the lavish lifestyle of….....

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"Culture And America In Great Gatsby", 16 April 2018, Accessed.17 September. 2021,