Don’t be a Tom Buchanan…

Today as I was walking down the street, for some reason, or another, I noticed a couple walking down the street. I’m not sure if it was their disdain faces that caught my attention, or the man’s icy cold stare that met my eyes as we briefly exchanged stares. Upon further observation, I realized that although, they were holding hands it appeared to be forced. The woman who was impeccably dressed on a rainy day seem distant. Her body language expressed boredom, and I even dare to say nostalgic.  The man occasionally looked up from his smartphone. He appeared to be too busy to pay attention to his surroundings, well, that is until our eyes locked for a few seconds, and I could sense something off, or better yet something dark in him.

I am not sure why, but I immediately thought of Tom Buchanan from F. Scott Fitzgerald book, “The Great Gatsby.”  I smiled thinking of Tom’s brute personality, and I wondered if this man was a Tom Buchanan. It’s funny how some people go through life hiding their true selves, and yet we find it acceptable, but we then turn around and criticize others who are valiant enough to show the world their true personality. This got me thinking about Jay Gatsby. Many critics who have analyzed his character describe him as an obsessive man who cut all ties from his family not caring at all about the people in his past besides his lost love Daisy.

I wonder if literary critics have been too harsh with Jay Gatsby character. It’s true he was known to prefer to be alone. Although, he hosted outstanding parties at his mansion, he felt perfectly contempt with being along. His only desire was to be with Daisy. Many have said his obsession with Daisy led him to cut all ties from his past, but he was actually living in the past, due to his obsession with his long-lost love Daisy, but I don’t see it that way.  Gatsby refused to settle and in his pursuit of happiness he achieved great things. Gatsby worked toward his goal rather than settle for anything else.

A lesson we should all learn. Many times, people settle for things that seem to fit, but it’s a trap. A trap that cuts our lives short, because of this entrapment some people never reach their full potential. I truly believe having the perfect partner helps a person blossom in every aspect in their life. Of course, this is not always true, but it does help to have a partner that lifts you up and encourages you to be the best you. The couple I saw earlier today, was a perfect example of what I like to call “Good on paper” A couple who checks off a laundry list that assures you comfort, such as in the case of Tom and Daisy Buchanan.

Gatsby on the other hand strived to be the best that he could be even though what he was chasing was an illusion. He was in love with a woman who clearly put her needs before others. Yes, some might think Gatsby story is a sad one, but is it? He is a perfect example of a man who fought to obtain a goal.  Most importantly Gatsby was true to his objective, even though he had a rude awakening at the end, but like some say, “It is better to try, than to wonder all your life what if.” Gatsby was brave enough to pursue his goal. The Great Gatsby was able to get some closure. He reached his goal and learned a lesson in the process. Now, as for Gatsby being deceitful- Well, it all depends how you look at it. Was he truly deceitful? I think he was pure of heart. He played the cards life dealt him. His love for Daisy was pure and never wavered, more than it can be said about Daisy. I believe he was the most genuine and pure of heart character in the whole story. Yes, flawed, but genuine in his own way.

If we only tackled our daily lives with the same passion and purity of heart, I believe we could achieve amazing things. Refuse to settle, refuse to stop dreaming, refuse to stop creating a better tomorrow.  This is what I take from Gatsby. A man who refused to give up.

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