The Great Gatsby is a book written by Fitzgerald Scott, narrated by a man named Nick Carraway who becomes disillusioned with how wealthy socialites live their lives. Even though the story is being told through Nick’s third person point of view, the character’s emotional and physical interactions are easily distinguished. Fitzgerald’s writing depicts a cynical view of humanity that shows each character being unable to make true, real and honest connections with the people around them and themselves. This is specifically shown through Daisy’s evolving behavior and rekindled feelings about Gatsby, Tom’s oblivious knowledge yet reluctance to admit about Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship, and Gatsby’s inability to be true to himself as well as failing to realize it.
At first, Daisy’s marriage with Tom seemed like a stereotypical, happy marriage. However, the first sign that showed Daisy’s unique behavior was when Tom was on the phone with his mistress and Daisy accompanied. Daisy obviously knew about the relationship but resumed dinner acting as if nothing happened and as if it was to be expected. A moment when Daisy represented the true cynical view that Fitzgerald bases the book on is on page 116 when Nick says, “As he left the room again she got up and went over to Gatsby and pulled his face down, kissing him on the mouth. ‘You know I love you,’ she murmured.” The ‘he’ in the beginning is referring to Tom, and then Daisy kisses Gatsby without hesitation in front of not only Nick, but also Ms. Baker. Knowing she has the pronounced privilege of kissing Gatsby in front of Tom and Daisy’s friends. She does this immediately after Tom leaves creating a callous tone in the scene. This further creates insensitive relationships with Nick, Ms. Baker, and Tom, but also a relationship between her and Gatsby that is motivated by self-interest.
Tom Buchanan seemed to have it all according to the disordered and falsely depicted view of the American dream that Fitzgerald portrayed in his novel. He has respected “old money,” superior social status, a wife and even a mistress. It’s clear Tom is a self interested man from the start with his high moral expectations of those around him but not complying with those standards himself. Tom really shows an incapability of connecting to other humans due to his occupation with himself, when he insists Daisy loves him on page 131 by saying, “‘She does, though. The trouble is that sometimes she gets foolish ideas in her head and doesn’t know what she’s doing… And what’s more is I love Daisy too. Once in awhile I go off on a spree and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time.’” Here he is openly admitting he’s had an afraid but insisting he still has a true and full connection to Daisy known as love. He also insists that she has the same connection towards him even if she thinks she doesn’t. This question happens after the fact the Gatsby tells Tom and everyone in the room that Daisy and Gatsby have longed for each other for five years. Regardless if this is true or not, Daisy’s feelings for Gatsby cannot be denied based on her actions. Tom’s insisting and almost forceful idea of love only shows that he is so wrapped up in his own feelings and opinions that if any part of his fantasy is pointed out as possibility false he becomes outraged and denies the idea. Tom represents the forced human connections that happen throughout The Great Gatsby that take the place of actual true human connection.
Although Fitzgerald’s novel seems to portray the main character as Gatsby, he is only one of the many representations of the cynical view of humanity. Gatsby seemed to do anything to gain the social position he thought necessary to win Daisy. Daisy seemed to be his sole motivation throughout his spotty life. Daisy became an illusion Gatsby lusted for. On page 95 shortly after Gatsby and Daisy reunited for the first time in 5 years, Nick says, “It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way.” The ‘it’ in this sentence refers to Gatsby’s vitality of his illusion; he illusion of his lust and possible love for Daisy. Having ‘thrown’ himself into it, adding every single extravagant thing he could only fueled his illusion and actually created a delusion that they could live this happily ever after. This delusion got in the way of everything. He was only concerned with protecting Daisy which resulted in exposing himself and setting up his own death. Gatsby not only represents the inability to connect with other humans but an inability to have a relationship with oneself; driven by a cynical attitude so deep that it cancels out the self-serving want and creates a blind lust for something that can never happen.
Some could argue that Gatsby’s love for Daisy was so great and so true that it’s what restricted him from making other human connections. Some could also say that Daisy’s feelings for Gatsby and Tom’s feelings for Daisy make them incapable of seeing the world around them because they had such strong human connections. However, the bottom line is that their relationships were dishonest and ended up being false. Characters like Tom, Daisy and Gatsby were not honest to each other and just as importantly not honest to themselves. Humanity in this novel is portrayed as cynical and nothing else. Real relationships are non existent. However, in reality human connection is a driving force that makes the world spin. Connecting and sharing about ideas and discoveries is what generates new innovations that help variations of people all over the world. Without our real and honest connections a majority of everyday luxuries wouldn’t be possible, like having friends, loving family, learning, creating and progressing. Connections lead to progression and The Great Gatsby seemed to be a poor progressing novel.