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Carelessness in The Great Gatsby

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Lauren Rosensweig

on 19 May 2016

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Transcript of Carelessness in The Great Gatsby

Character Analysis
Carelessness and Wealth
Lauren and Jordana
Carelessness in The Great Gatsby
Thesis

Due to their wealth, the characters in The Great Gatsby are blind to the consequences of their actions, making them act carelessly
Tom
Insensitive & thoughtless
Doesn't hide his affair
Physically abuses Myrtle
Says he can't marry Myrtle because Daisy is Catholic
Responsible for Gatsby's death but doesn't come to his funeral
Daisy
Knows about Tom's affair
Vocal about love for Gatsby in front of Tom
Thinks money will solve her problems
Lets Gatsby take the blame for Myrtle's death
Runs away
Gatsby
Careless with money
Lets anyone show up to his parties
Gets involved with married woman
Money comes from illegal sources but doesn't fear being caught
Does not care about Tom's feelings
Jordan
Cheater
Bad driver
Counts on others to be careful so that she doesn't have to
Nick
Do you think that Nick is a careless character?
Nick
Enables Daisy and Gatsby's relationship even though he knows the outcome won't be positive
Doesn't react to anything going on around him
"America is a fundamentally careless society, blind to history and its lessons. And thus doomed, as Fitzgerald so famously - and presciently - put in the beautifully elegiac final chapter of The Great Gatsby, to be 'borne ceaselessly into the past'" - Churchwell
Tom cheats on Daisy & makes up for it by spoiling her
Daisy can afford to run away after killing Myrtle
"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they made" (9. 136-145)
Money leads to carelessness --> blinds one's reality
I couldn't forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. "
"I am careful."
"No you're not."
"Well other people are," she said lightly.
"What's that got to do with it?"
"They'll keep out of my way," she insisted. "It takes two to make an accident"
"Suppose you met somebody just as careless as yourself"
"I hope I never will," she answered. "I hate careless people, that's why I like you."
"She had told him that she loved him, and Tom Buchanan saw. He was astounded. His mouth opened a little, and he looked at Gatsby, and then back at Daisy as if he had just recognized her as some one he knew a long time ago." (7.79-82)
If the characters in The Great Gatsby didn't have their wealth, would they live more carefully and would the outcome of their actions be different?
"I want you and Daisy to come over to my house. I'd like to show her around. [...] My house looks swell doesn't it? See how the whole front of it catches the light? It took me three years to earn the money that bought it [...] I keep it always full of interesting people, night and day. People who do interesting things. Celebrated people."
"I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby's house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People weren't invited - they went there." (41)
In conclusion...
The theme of carelessness enhances Fitzgerald's critical views on the time period, adds to the characters' personalities, and helps advance the theme of wealth.
Full transcript