One of the biggest fears in today’s world is the fear of not fitting into society. People of all age groups and backgrounds share this fear. Many individuals believe that to receive somebody’s affection, they must assimilate into that person’s society. Jay Gatsby, like any normal person, wants to fit into society. His feelings for Daisy make him strive to achieve that goal. In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby attempts to fit into Daisy’s society by any means available.
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The only way Jay makes enough money to enable him to be able to live near Daisy is by bootlegging, an illegal activity. Tom, Daisy’s husband, reveals the truth about Gatsby’s business, ” I found out what your ‘drug stores’ were?He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drug stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him and I wasn’t far wrong.”(141) Gatsby wants to assimilate so badly that he commits crimes in order to get rich quickly. His love for Daisy clouds his mind. Jay is willing to do anything to win Daisy. Gatsby deludes himself to avoid accepting the fact that Daisy does not want to leave Tom: “‘She’s not leaving me!’ Tom’s words suddenly leaned down over Gatsby. ‘Certainly not for a common swindler who’d have to steal the ring he put on her finger.’ “(140) Once again the reader is reminded of Gatsby’s willingness to do anything to win Daisy, including stealing. Bootlegging is an illegal way of making money and Gatsby does it just to be with Daisy and her friends.
Jay Gatsby also throws many extravagant parties in hopes of winning the esteem of his neighbors and especially Daisy. “?And they will give you a better impression than my generalities of those who accepted Gatsby’s hospitality and paid him the subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him.”(65) Gatsby invites everybody to his parties, including people he does not know. However, none of these people actually care for Gatsby. They use him for his wealth and good faith, but no one really cares about Jay himself. From a conversation between the narrator, Nick Carraway, and a man called Owl Eyes, after Gatsby’s funeral it is evident that Gatsby’s wish for acceptance has been futile:
” ‘I couldn’t get to the house,’ he remarked
‘Neither could anybody else.’
‘Go on!’ He started. ‘Why, my God! They used to go there by the hundreds.
‘The poor son-of-a-bitch,’ he said”(183)
All the people that participate in and enjoy Gatsby’s parties do not even show up for his funeral at the end of the novel. However, before Gatsby’s death, he strongly believes that if his parties get big enough, he will gain instant success in the community and win Daisy’s affection. Gatsby is willing to spend vast amounts of money just to attract Daisy’s attention. During his parties he makes sure everyone has a good time. For example, a woman talks about her experience at Gatsby’s party: “I like to come?I never care what I do, so I always have a good time. When I was here last I tore my gown on a chair, and he asked me my name and address-inside a week I got a package from Croirier’s with a new evening gown in it.”(47) This quote shows that Jay would spend money carelessly in order to make a good reputation for himself. Another woman replies with “There’s something funny about a fellow that’ll do a thing like that?He doesn’t want any trouble with anybody.”(48) Gatsby will do anything, to stay out of trouble and be on good terms with anybody. He thinks that by throwing lavish parties he will be able to attract the attention of Daisy and win the respect and friendships of people in his neighborhood.
Gatsby is willing to do anything to appear to be a true gentleman; this includes lying about his past and present. Jay tries to cover up his illegal profession by lying about his past. “I’ll tell you God’s truth?I am the son of some wealthy people in the middle-west-all dead now. I was brought in America but educated at Oxford because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition.”(69) Gatsby equivocates about having wealthy parents, when in fact both his parents are very poor. Gatsby covers up the fact that he got rich quickly and without aid from his parents. Gatsby also makes himself look more like a gentleman by lying about attending Oxford. Nick noticed that Gatsby does not tell the whole truth,
“He looked at me sideways-and I knew why Jordan Baker had believed he was lying. He hurried the phrase ‘educated in Oxford’ or swallowed it or choked on it as though it had bothered him before. And with this doubt his whole statement fell to pieces and I wondered if there wasn’t something a little sinister about him after all.”(69)
Gatsby is willing to lie just so he can seem like a well-educated person and a true gentleman. He thinks that if he acts and sounds like a member of Daisy’s society, he will be accepted by her and her society.
Gatsby’s ideals are tainted by his need to assimilate into society. He is willing to do anything possible, including lying and committing illegal activities. Jay Gatsby’s fear of not fitting into Daisy’s society causes him to make many immoral acts. He, like other people, does what he believes would make him fit in, even if those acts are not right.