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Is Gatsby A Narcissist? by Moses Royce

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Moses Royce

on 16 October 2013

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Transcript of Is Gatsby A Narcissist? by Moses Royce

Is Gatsby A Narcissist?

Moses Royce
What is a Narcissist?
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.


A Narcissist is in love with the image of themselves. They believe themselves better than everyone else. They lack empathy and tend to use others for their personal needs and goals. A narcissist pursues the unrealistic dream of perfection that they think up for themselves.
What does that mean?
In Simpler terms:
Symptoms of Narcissism
Personality Functioning:
Identity- Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.
Self-Direction- Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.






Interpersonal Functioning:
Empathy- Impaired ability to identify or recognize with the feelings of others
Intimacy- Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others‟ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain.

The Pathological Narcissistic Personality Traits
Grandiosity- Feelings of entitlement, thinks oneself to be better than others.
Attention Seeking- Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of others attention.

“just as it began my eyes fell on Gatsby, standing alone on the marble steps and looking from one group to another with approving eyes(50).”

Gatsby sees people as furniture, he fills his house with them but doesn't feel the need to know them.
"I keep it always full of interesting people, night and day. People who do interesting things. Celebrated people(91)."
He uses people for their accomplishments to improve his image.
“He knew women early and since they spoiled him he became contemptuous of them, of young virgins because they were ignorant, of the others because they were hysterical about things which in his overwhelming self-absorption he took for granted.(98)”

His treatment of women shows his disrespect for others. He uses them when he wants to and justifies it with his feeling of entitlement.
“She never loved him... Daisey's leaving you.” (132)”
He feel entitled to Daisey because they were in love first. He does not care for the feeling of Tom or Daisy. He is trying to choose for the both of them. This displays his lack of empathy.
Exploitiveness and Entitlement
Gatsby first narcissistic trait is that he uses people. He sees people as objects and uses them for his personal gain throughout the book. He feels entitled to things because he wants them, this comes from his self-absorption .
Gatsby's narcissistic behavior
“I had been actually invited. A chauffeur in a uniform of robin's egg blue crossed my lawn early that Saturday morning with a surprisingly formal note from his employer—the honor would be entirely Gatsby's, it said, if I would attend his "little party" that night. He had seen me several times and had intended to call on me long before but a peculiar combination of circumstances had prevented it—signed Jay Gatsby in a majestic hand (41).”


Everything about Gatsby must be grand! Every detail, his entrance and his mannerisms, even his handwriting must jump off the page and grab you attention.
"Absolutely real—have pages and everything. I thought they'd be a nice durable cardboard. Matter of fact, they're absolutely real. Pages and—Here! Lemme show you (46)."

Gatsby puts on a show for everyone. Everything about him must be grand. His books are just the same. They are there to show off and show people that he spares no expense.
“I’d seen it. Everybody had seen it. (64)”
This quote is in reference to his car. Gatsby must have the attention of everyone around him. To do so he drives the brightest, fastest, and loudest car in New York.
Grandiosity
Grandiosity is defined as: high-flown style. Gatsby's grandiose ways are attention seeking. A narcissist, and Gatsby, want everyone attention. This is the way Gatsby grabs everyone attention.
“For a moment he looked at me as if he failed to understand. "I'm Gatsby," he said suddenly (48.)”
Gatsby doesn't even comprehend someone not knowing him. He believes himself to be perfect and thinks that everyone will know him because of it.
“He was saying some last word to her but the eagerness in his manner tightened abruptly into formality as several people approached him to say goodbye (52).”
He must be perfect in everyone mind so he presents himself as such.
I didn’t want you to think I was just some nobody. (67)”
This is very important. He is so worried what other people think of him he has dedicated himself to become perfect so people could not argue that. He wants everyone to know who he is and how great he is. This ties into his massive but fragile ego and his grandiosity.
"Look here, this is a book he had when he was a boy. It just shows you."
He opened it at the back cover and turned it around for me to see. On the last fly-leaf was printed the word SCHEDULE, and the date September 12th, 1906. And underneath:
Rise from bed … … … … … . 6.00 A.M.
Dumbbell exercise and wall-scaling … … 6.15-6.30 "
Study electricity, etc … … … … 7.15-8.15 "
Work … … … … … … … 8.30-4.30 P.M.
Baseball and sports … … … … . 4.30-5.00 "
Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it 5.00-6.00 "
"Look here, this is a book he had when he was a boy. It just shows you."
He opened it at the back cover and turned it around for me to see. On the last fly-leaf was printed the word SCHEDULE, and the date September 12th, 1906. And underneath:
Rise from bed … … … … … . 6.00 A.M.
Dumbbell exercise and wall-scaling … … 6.15-6.30 "
Study electricity, etc … … … … 7.15-8.15 "
Work … … … … … … … 8.30-4.30 P.M.
Baseball and sports … … … … . 4.30-5.00 "
Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it 5.00-6.00 "(173)"

This shows just how dedicated he is to proving that he is perfect.
"Do you notice what hes got about improving his mind? 173"
His constant need for perfection.
Perfection/Self-Direction
The narcissist believes himself to be perfect. The narcissist has a need to be perfect. They peruse perfection. Gatsby believes himself to be perfect because of all of the work he has put in to become perfect. This comes from his massive, but fragile, ego.
“Luckily the clock took this moment to tilt dangerously at the pressure of his head, whereupon he turned and caught it with trembling fingers and set it back in place. Then he sat down, rigidly, his elbow on the arm of the sofa and his chin in his hand.
"I'm sorry about the clock," he said. (86)”
Fitzgerald purposely writes Gatsby knocking down a clock when he sees Daisey for the first time in five years. This represents Gatsby's will to turn back time and be able to control it.
"Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!" (111)"

Gatsby shows his unwillingness to accept the present. He thinks he can change what has happened.
Time
Narcissists typically believe that they can control time. Gatsby believes he can because he wants to rekindle his relationship with Daisey. Time is a threat to his omnipotence.
“he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as i was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward- and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been at the end of a dock (21).”
This shows his desire for Daisey. Daisey symbolizes his achievement of his perfection and his perfect dream.
“The largest of the banners and the largest of the lawns belonged to Daisy Fay's house. She was just eighteen, two years older than me, and by far the most popular of all the young girls in Louisville (74)”

He idealizes her because she is everything he is not. He wants to live her lifestyle. He sees her as the ticket into that lifestyle. He loves the idea of her. She will complete his dream of perfection.
"Look at this," said Gatsby quickly. "Here's a lot of clippings—about you(92)."

Shows his devotion to the "grail" and how he idealizes her.
“Her voice is full of money, he said suddenly. (120)"

Shows how he loves the idea of her not actually her. He loves where she came from. Gatsby loves the idea of her.
No telephone message arrived but the butler went without his sleep and waited for it until four o'clock—until long after there was any one to give it to if it came. I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn't believe it would come and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. (160)"

This shows how he never really loved Daisey. It has been a few hours and he has already forgotten about her. He doesn't care if she calls or not.He never truly cared about her, just what she represented. He failed to achieve his "grail."
Perfection and the Pursuit of the Grail
Narcissists peruse perfection and often have a goal that is set with unreasonable expectation to succeed. Gatsby pursues perfection of him and Daisey. He loves what Daisey is and needs it complete his dream of perfection. It becomes his "Holy Grail."
"I can't describe to you how surprised I was to find out I loved her, old sport. I even hoped for a while that she'd throw me over, but she didn't, because she was in love with me too. (151)"

Gatsby loved her because she loved him. He uses her as a mirror. This really shows how he loves himself.
He looked at me anxiously as if he hoped I'd corroborate this.
"I suppose so."
"Well—goodbye."(156)"

When Daisey is gone he uses Nick as a mirror.
No telephone message arrived but the butler went without his sleep and waited for it until four o'clock—until long after there was any one to give it to if it came. I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn't believe it would come and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. (160)"

Again, this shows how he doesn't really care about the loss of Daisey. He views it as the lost of just another mirror.
Relationships
Gatsby's relationships are that of a narcissist. He uses people as mirrors. A mirror as a person is someone the narcissist can use to reflect themselves back at themselves to reinforce their ego and boost their self esteem.
Conclusion
The traits are apparent in his behavior and they are consistent throughout the book. Fitzgerald wrote the character of Gatsby this way, it was not by accident. I believe that Gatsby's success as a character is because of his narcissism.
Yes, Gatsby is a Narcissist.
Gatsby's Death
Gatsby's death isn't a narcissistic trait. But it is the death of a narcissist. A very famous narcissist. The greek myth of Narcissus parallels the death of Gatsby. Narcissus dies by drowning in a pool of water looking at his own reflection. Gatsby dies in a pool also. Fitzgerald write this in on purpose to draw the parallels to Narcissus.He wanted the reader to understand that Gatsby was a narcissist.
"The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God...(98)”
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