The Great Gatsby (F.Scott Fitzgerald)

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I found an ironic quote in chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby: " I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and I felt it in others - poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner..." I found it interesting that the main character only felt loneliness in others who he described as poor, as if it was a feeling experienced exclusively by the less fortunate.  Mr. Carraway said he felt loneliness in others, but maybe he did not. Maybe he merely assumed that becasue he was lonely, everyone else with similar circumstances must be lonely, too. And some people may not mind eating alone. Sure, eating a meal by oneself can be lonely, but no lonelier than throwing an extravagant party for strangers.This is a perfect demonstration of the reality that money can't buy happiness, or even meaningful relationships; perhaps Mr. Carraway was too busy envying Mr. Gatsby to recall this fact. In fact Mr. Gatsby's relationships were so shallow that he was using the parties as a distraction from reality (to forget the sad event of his past), while his guests were using him to achieve some status. Ultimately, I would rather eat a meal in solitude than cater to strangers who could not care to know anything about me.


A thoughtful observation, Alicia. I think it's also fair to note that, if Nick hadn't been the type of person who would let other people manipulate him into situations like this, he wouldn't have been present at these events, and thus couldn't narrate them. Fitzgerald tries to address this on the first page, where Nick says he's the kind of person whose nature inspires others to confide in him. So we have to accept that our narrator would not make the same choices that you would make, Alicia, and that because Nick is who he is, he can tell us this story. So your insight reallly reminds us how important Nick's character is to a story in which he is usually an observer; yet he is also the protagonist of the story that frames the story of Gatsby.

I found a quote about lonliness on page 4 that says "And as I walked on I was lonely no longer. I was aguide, a pathfinder, an originial settler." He said this because he had helped a man find his way somewhere becaucse he was new to the area. I thought that your quote was interesting and when I read your entry it reminded me of this lonliness quote and made me wonder whether or not this person that Nick had helped was poor or not because he said the was "longely no longer." Just found it to be interesting.

Alyssa Sanow said:

The issue of true happiness presents itself constantly throughout Fitzgerald's novel. Mr. Carraway may not see himself as happy, but his life is atleast grounded in reality where as Gatsby's life is just a front without any substance. I would hope that in the rest of the novel Mr. Carraway can continue to sense loneliness in himself if only so that he doesn't develop the shallow status-obssessed attitude of those who attend Gatsby's parties.

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