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The Gospel of Gatsby

Author(s): Bernard Tanner


Source: The English Journal, Vol. 54, No. 6 (Sep., 1965), pp. 467-474
Published by: National Council of Teachers of English
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/811392
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ENGLISH JOURNAL
Volume 54 September1965 Number 6

The Gospel of Gatsby


BernardTanner
Chairman,Departmentof English
Cubberley High School
Palo Alto, California
"He was a son of God-a phrase which, judgmental - a novel which may have
if it means anything, means just that-- as its subliminal message the quite simple
and he must be about his Father's busi- question, "Have you tried Christ?" For
ness, the service of a vast, vulgar, and the inverted Christ figure, Gatsby, of-
meretricious beauty." fends our sense of decency overall, and
yet his one redeeming act - the protec-
THUS NICK CARRAWAY speaks tion of Daisy to whom he continued
about Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's
faithful - bears the superficial character
novel, The Great Gatsby, and thus Fitz-
of Christian love, however distorted, ro-
gerald gives us his most outspoken al-
lusion to the jazz-likeparody of the life mantic, and displaced it may have been
of Christwhich he plays in a minor, sar- in fact. And it is this final act which
donic key throughoutthe novel. causes Nick to say that Gatsby came out
The novel has long been noted for its "all right in the end."
threads of imagery: Fitzgerald'sobses- The parody has its most clearly sus-
sion with East and West (both as his tained development at the beginning of
own Midwestern background opposed Chapter VI, just after Daisy meets Gats-
to the PrincetonianEast, and as the ma- by at Nick's house. At that point Nick
terialisticWest as opposed to the spirit- tells us Jay Gatsby's true story, or at
least the truth insofar as Gatsby was
ually exotic Middle East); the color
scheme- green,white (silver), and rose; capable of truth. In this story Fitzgerald
the natureimagery involving water. But delights in a tour de force as cleverly de-
the main tapestry into which these signed as any of the classical parodies in
threads smoothly weave has been over- Joyce's Ulysses.1 Fitzgerald improvises
looked. It is an extensiveparody,sardon- on the story of Christ (as nearly as one
ic in tone, involving the Christianstory can tell, almost exclusively the Gospel
and the idea of rebirth, with Gatsby According to St. John) in a modem jazz
ironically likened to Christ, and Nick spirit which twists, disguises, and em-
bellishes a melody line, allowing only
Carraway, the story-teller, likened to
Nicodemus, who appearsin the Gospel fragments to slip through, while still
According to St. John. Viewed in this seeking a fresh unity of interpretation
way, all of the imageryof the novel falls that can make the performance the prop-
into a well-constructedand coherentpat- erty of the musician and not that of the
tern. Furthermore, when the novel is composer.
read with this awareness,what had earl- Nick tells us that a young reporter
ier seemed at worst an indecisiveor am-
'Fitzgerald was greatly impressedby his read-
biguous novel and at best an evocative ing of Ulysses in 1922. The Great Gatsby ap-
but depressingnovel may be exceedingly peared in 1925.
467

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468 ENGLISH JOURNAL

had approached Gatsby for a statement, imagination ... [he] . . . had never really
but that Gatsby had either fended him accepted . . . his parents at all," the "shift-
off or had given him a confusing answer. less and unsuccessful farm people." At
Nick commends the reporter's "instinct" this point Fitzgerald gives his reader the
for a story, for Gatsby's "notoriety" had sentence quoted at the beginning of this
been spreading, giving rise to rumors article, which announces that Gatsby
about him. Among the "legends" that was "a son of God." The entire scene, of
had grown was word about his "under- course, describes the baptism of James
ground pipe-line to Canada" - his boot- Gatz and the rebirth of Jay G. at the
legging activities - and the rumor that hands of Dan the baptist - the "pioneer
he did not live in a house, but "in a boat debauchee" from the wilds of the West,
that looked like a house and was moved raising his voice from the wilderness to
secretly up and down the Long Island announce the beatitude of a life of wine,
shore." We are reminded of the many women, and money. His name - Dan
people who approached Jesus early in Cody - has the true American tone, as
his ministry and who left pondering a native as jazz - proclaiming both staunch
riddle-like parable or a non-committal pioneering (Daniel Boone) and wild-
response. We remember Christ's first west splendor (Wild Bill Cody). Like
miracle in John when, at the wedding Christ, Jay Gatsby felt no compunction
party in Cana, he turned six pots of water about renouncing his earthly parents, for
into wine. The "ruler of the feast" did he was off on his service to "His Father's
not know "whence it was," but the business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and
source was fully understood by the "ser- meretricious beauty" - something more
vants which drew the water" (John significant than the lowly life of com-
2:9); clearly Gatsby was not drawing mon drudgery on a simple farm in North
his booze through a pipe-line, but his Dakota.
men were drawing much from bathtubs. Prior to meeting Cody, Gatsby had
And we recall that shortly thereafter been making a living "as a clam-digger
Christ taught the multitude from the and a salmon-fisher." In the same para-
boat on the Sea of Galilee and was mys- graph Nick mentions that young Gatsby
teriously seen along the shores in places had known women early and was most
which amazed the people (John 6:22). contemptuous of them - of virgins for
The story continues that at seventeen their ignorance and others for their "hys-
Gatsby (ne James Gatz) had been a teria . . . about things which in his over-
young ruffian, bumming about the south whelming self-absorption he took for
shore of Lake Superior, where by chance granted." His dreams are filled with
he had met Dan Cody, a millionaire "fantastic conceits" which he accepts as
yacht-owner from the wilds of Nevada, a "promise that the rock of the world
Montana, and the Yukon. The two had ... [is] ... founded securely on a fairy's
met on the water, Gatsby rowing out to wing."
meet Cody, who had been "coasting The relationship of Christ to the fish-
along all too hospitable shores" on his ing is obvious. Gatsby's "fantastic con-
mission of riotous living. They had met ceits" (and whose more fantastic than
on "Little Girl Bay" - a delightful in- these of Fitzgerald?), like the puzzling
vention and improvisation on the slang parables of Christ, became Gatsby's spiri-
of the day (Galilee). After a few ques- tual food. And the reference to the "hys-
tions from Cody, James Gatz had an- teria" of practiced women at Gatsby's
nounced his name as "Jay Gatsby" - "self-absorption" and to Gatsby's satis-
which bothered him little because in "his faction with "a promise that the rock of

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THE GOSPEL OF GATSBY 469

the world . . . [is] . . . founded securely world," similar to the intent of the music
on a fairy's wing" adds to other evidence played at one of Gatsby's parties (a com-
which suggests a latent homosexual prob- position called "Jazz History of the
lem in Gatsby, as well as echoing Gats- World" by a composer who is perhaps
by's search for a Simon Peter (the rock) too cutely named Tostoff). We can
who would recognize his divinity. imagine Fitzgerald's delight in his own
There follows a passage about young ingenuity as he presents his flippantly
Gatsby's short-lived and disillusioning tossed-off parody of the story of Christ.
stay at "the small Lutheran college of St. Although no comparable passage of
Olaf's in southern Minnesota," where he consecutive paragraphs can be found
found himself despairing the "janitor's elsewhere in The Great Gatsby - no
work," thereupon quitting and returning other passage so rich in Joycean parody
to Lake Superior. These passages paral- and punning - Fitzgerald sustains his
lel Christ's visit to the tabernacle, his direction throughout. The characters
overturning the tables and cleansing the and actions of the novel frequently mir-
temple by chasing out the moneylenders, ror, in topsy-turvy ways, figures and in-
and his subsequent return to Galilee cidents in the Gospel According to St.
(John 2:14). John.
A few more points deserve noting for Nick Carraway, the story-teller, is
their especially delightful inventiveness. central to the novel. He comes East from
Gatsby serves Dan Cody in rather vague the Midwest to seek his fortune as a
capacities (as Christ did John the Baptist bond salesman in 1922. He tells us that
for a time), among others as his "jailor" his family, which prides itself on a prob-
to protect him from his own excesses of ably spurious background in Scottish
debauchery; and, as a result of watching nobility, had its actual beginnings in the
the debauchery, Gatsby abstains from wholesale hardware business. Being a
drink except when women "rub cham- person of some "advantages" - an East-
pagne into his hair" at parties. We recall ern education and a "sense of the funda-
that the growing circle about John the mental decencies" which so often accom-
Baptist led to his arrest and imprison- pany money and solid, middle-class
ment, that Christ himself would not ad- standards - Nick figuratively belongs to
minister baptism (John 4:2), and that the class of Pharisees, like Nicodemus.
Mary annointed Christ with expensive Like Nicodemus as well, he finds him-
oils (John 12:3). self beset with intimations of the pos-
Fitzgerald's Salome for Dan Cody is a sibility of rebirth (John 3). Immediately
newswoman who "played Madame de upon his arrival in the East, Nick has the
Maintenon" to Cody's weakness, and "familiar conviction that life . . . [is]
thus drove him to take his debauchery to ... beginning over again." He settles in
sea in his yacht. When she caught up West Egg (Little Nick, Long Island),
with him in Boston, he died in two weeks where live the Jews, Hollywood people,
from (apparently) sexual starvation. And and nouveau riche who find themselves
although Gatsby had been expecting excluded from East Egg (Great Neck
some money from Cody's will, the wo- Estates), where live the ironically exotic,
man managed to make off with all the long-established families of Nordic puri-
legacy. ty, who live aloof. Fitzgerald's choice of
The entire passage - some dozen or names, aside from being geographically
more paragraphs - constitutes a jazz-like justified (Little Nick and Great Neck
commentary on both the '20's and the Estates both have the rotund shape of an
birth of our era - a "jazz history of the egg), gives us imagery involving rebirth;

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470 ENGLISH JOURNAL

and Nick's comment that "like the egg hope for the promise of love). Nick
in the Columbus story, they are both keeps rejecting women in his own life:
crushedflat on the contact end" suggests the broken "engagement" back home,
Columbus'search for the Far East - its the terminated "affair" with the girl in
riches and promise - only to have to Jersey City, the rejection of Jordan Ba-
settle for a newer, more primitive and ker. Something seems to force him to re-
demandingWest. peat certain patterns of relationship with
Nick's cottage, incongruously nestled women. Repeatedly also, we find Nick
critical of Gatsby's passionate evaluations
next to Gatsby's resplendent mansion,
of his relationship with Daisy and her
gives Nick the occasion to attend one world. Nick is unwilling either to assent
of Gatsby's notorious parties.Nick ap-
to the superiority of that Eastern world
proaches Gatsby for the first time at or to accept the almost divine construc-
night, just as Nicodemus approached tion Gatsby puts on his past relationship
Christ.At their first meeting, Gatsby in-
with Daisy, or on the possibility of his
vites Nick to take a flight in his "hydro-
having a future with her. 'When Nick
plane"- an invitationto go out upon the one night insists with Gatsby that you
water and rise with him. Later Nick is
asked to go swimming with Gatsby at "'can't repeat the past' " (Cf. Nicode-
mus' insistence with Christ that no man
Coney Island. These invitationsparallel born of woman can re-enter the womb
Christ'sinvitationto Nicodemus to seek
and be born again [John 3]), Gatsby an-
rebirthin baptism.Throughouttheir en-
swers "incredulously... 'Why of course
suing relationship,Nick succumbs to a
fascinationfor this strange,hauntedman, you can!' " And later when Gatsby, even
after having been rejected by Daisy, in-
but resists Gatsby's "orgiastic dream."
sists that everything is all right because
Acting on the long-standingadviceof his her momentary love for her husband,
father, Nick refuses to pass final judg- Tom Buchanan, has been "'just person-
ment on Gatsby, despite his rejection of
al' ", Nick writes: "What could you
Gatsby'sextravagantfictions about him- make of that, except to suspect some in-
self, despite the rumorsof and evidence
of Gatsby'sunderworldconnections,and tensity in his conception of the affair
that couldn't be measured?"
despite Gatsby's puerile romanticism.In
a similar fashion, Nicodemus steps for- Nick's rejection of love - of disciple-
ward as one of the only disbelievingsup- ship with Gatsby - is emphasized strong-
porters of Christ, one who says to the ly by Fitzgerald. At the apartment on
officers of the Pharisees,"Doth our law 158th Street, where Nick goes with Tom
judge any man, before it hear him, and Buchanan for an impromptu party one
know what he doeth?" (John 7:50). Ul- afternoon, Nick idly picks up the book
timately, like Nicodemus, Nick takes it Simon Called Peter, while Tom and
as his duty to attend the funeral of the Myrtle have retired to the adjoining bed-
rejected "messiah,"a task eschewed even room, for obvious purposes. Nick finds
by Christ'sclosest disciples. that the book is "either terrible stuff or
And like Nicodemus, Nick remains the whiskey distorted things, because it
unfulfilled himself - contented only in didn't make any sense to me," and he
that he has not denied his human and puts it aside. Figuratively Nick rejects
tribal relationshipto the jazz-ageChrist,the role of Peter, who was first to pro-
but aware that he has himself avoided claim the divinity of Christ and the mis-
any real contact with the experienceof sion of love. Early in the novel Nick
rebirth (Nick has somewhat inexplicably takes his place squarely among the Phari-
rejected Jordan Baker, his own particular sees with the view that "Conduct may

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THE GOSPEL OF GATSBY 471

be founded on hard rock or the wet in the last analysis, hardly pleasing. It
marshes,but after a certainpoint I don't seems to be the stance of a man who re-
care what it is founded on." He does not jects the possibilitythat sexualpower can
accept the foundation of conduct on have not only a legitimateplace in mar-
stone (Peter and the divine recognition) riage,but also a role as a kind of spiritual
or on the water of baptismand rebirth, communion. It is the stance of a man
but like the Phariseeshe insists upon a who, faced by unwholesome decadence
uniform moral stance,nonetheless. at every turn, will be ripe, if not for the
And yet Nick's rejection of disciple- judgment leading to a new Golgotha,
ship becomes a rejection of life, some- at least for a renewed Armageddon- a
how. Before the return to Long Island, man who, having denied the possibility
after the dreadfulconfrontationbetween of rebirth, seeks its attractive counter-
Tom Buchanan,Daisy, and Gatsby,Tom feit - general destruction - to wipe the
Buchanan offers some whisky to Jor- slate clean for an enforced renewal2.
dan and Nick: "'Want any of this stuff? Nick admits having "enjoyed"the First
Jordan?... Nick?' " We never hearJor- World War as a "counter-raid"as part
dan'sanswer,but Nick rejects the "spir- of the "delayed Teutonic migration,"
its" and is immediatelythereafterhaunt- and by the end of the novel, he is psy-
ed by his own age - thirty - at which chologically ripe for World War II -
point he finds himself facing "a porten- a new destructionwhich might complete
tous, menacing road of a new decade" the job.
with the "promiseof a decade of loneli- But if Nick lacks the promise and
ness, a thinning list of single men to spirit, he at least escapes the trap that
know, a thinningbriefcaseof enthusiasm springson Gatsby: he has sense enough
.... " Nick finds himself at the age of to escape betrayal at the lips of Daisy.
Christ on the Cross, with neither mis- Shortly after the communionof Gatsby
sion nor promise. Even the honesty on and Daisy over tea cakes and tea at
which he had prided himself has fallen Nick's cottage, Daisy and Tom accept
away with his silence to Tom (later) an invitationto one of Gatsby's parties.
about Daisy's guilt in the accident and Titillated by the surroundingmales -
his somewhat inexplicable falling out her husband, would-be paramour, and
with Jordan Baker,who accuses him of Nick - Daisy seeks even more domina-
an essential dishonesty with her. (The tion, whisperingto Nick: "'These things
possibility that Nick's dishonesty with excite me so ... If you want to kiss me
Jordanhas to do with some sexualinsuf- any time during the evening, Nick, just
ficiency cannot be avoided, although it let me know and I'll be glad to arrange
is equally reasonableto suspect he had it for you. Just mention my name. Or
begun a sexual relationship and had, present a green card. I'm giving out
without explanation,broken it off.) green-.' " Like the green light on the
The pitiful irony is that in Fitzgerald's Buchanan dock, which so mesmerizes
RoaringTwenties it had to be the Nico- Gatsby'sevening vigils, or like the green
demus figure who was forced to be- of young Gatz's shirt and the green of
come the witness to truth; and in the the upholstery in Gatsby's shiny car,
end, Nick is found wantingin spirit,con- Daisy's "green"holds out extraordinary
firmed in his Pharisaicaltendencies. At but deceitful promise- a hint of seduc-
the beginning of the novel, Nick an- tion toward some unattainable"orgias-
nounces that the entire experiencewith
Gatsby and Daisy had left him wanting 'In a letter in 1940,Fitzgeraldhimself ad-
"the world to be in uniformand at a sort mitted to being strangelyexcited and inspired
by promisein the face of the "new Armaged-
of moralattentionforever."His stanceis, don"which hadjust begun.

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472 ENGLISH JOURNAL

tic future." A few pages later we are back to John the Baptist and Salome or
taken back into Gatsby's past when, as a forward to Gatsby and his Daisy.
young officer, he had courted Daisy. After the party attended by Tom and
On an autumn night, surrounded by fall- Daisy, Gatsbv goes into mysterious re-
ing leaves on a tree-lined street (the Gar- treat, dismissing his servants and bring-
den of Gethsemane), ing into his home some apparently "hot"
friends of Wolfsheim, the gambler. The
. . . Gatsby saw that the blocks of the kitchen is reoorted to look "like a pig-
sidewalks really formed a ladder and sty." At this juncture, Daisy invites Nick
mounted to a secret place above the and Gatsby to lunch, and Nick com-
trees-he would climb to it, if he climbed ments that he hoped they would not
alone .... choose that moment for a scene, remem-
His heart beat faster and faster as bering as he did the "harrowing scene
Daisy's white face came up to his own. ... in the garden" at the last of Gatsby's
He knew that when he kissed this girl, big
parties. The day for the lunch is
and forever wed his unutterable visions "broiling," and as Nick and Gatsby's
to her perishablebreath, his mind would train
never romp again like the mind of God. "emerged from the tunnel into the
sunlight. only the hot whistle of the Na-
tional Biscuit Company broke the sim-
At the point of the kiss, Gatsby met his
mering hush at noon."
betrayal, which waited five years for A contemporary gag during the '20's
its denouement in the aftermath of the was to say to someone who showed
auto accident, a betrayal not unlike spiritual
depression, "Uneeda Biscuit," a
Christ's own, willingly sought and ac- play on the advertisement of the Nation-
cepted (John 13:26). Christ had the al Biscuit Company and upon the idea of
choice of entering the Garden alone to communion. The entire scene here re-
commune with his God, but by taking minds us of the harrowing of Hell, Gats-
his disciples with him, he set the stage by
among the underworld figures living
for the Judas kiss of betrayal (John in filth, the excessive heat, the tunnel
18:4); Gatsby, too, saw that he could out into the sunlight. A few lines later
"climb to it" alone, but kissed Daisy, on, Gatsby and Nick arrive at the Bu-
knowing that "his mind would never chanan home, and in the muggv heat,
romp again like the mind of God." Nick which distorts sound, overhear the but-
continues, commenting that the story of ler answer the telephone:
"appalling sentimentality" reminded him
of something, but he could not grasp "The master'sbody!" roared the but-
what. He had forgotten Daisy's invita- ler into the mouthpiece. "I'm sorry, ma-
tion to him and the historical meaning dam, but we can't furnish it--it's far too
of a kiss. What more appropriate for the hot to touch this noon!"
age of the flapper and the liberated wo-
man (from Fitzgerald's point of view) Nick goes on to say: "What he really
than seeing man's betrayer as a confused said was: 'Yes . . . Yes... I'll see.'"
doubling of responsibility - man's initial Clearly Fitzgerald seeks to jar us into
romantically unjustified response to wo- awareness of the relationship between
man and the promise of sex, followed by seeking communion (Gatsby's purpose
some deceit by the woman, who is inher- in visiting Daisy) and the "master's
ently frail, untrustworthy, and incapa- body," which has been in "hell."
ble of giving permanent satisfaction; for Daisy herself appears time and again
Fitzgerald, the Frankie and Johnnie of in association with white and with sil-
the Midwestern ballad can only point ver (Judas), ironic commentary on the

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THE GOSPEL OF GATSBY 473

myth of Southern womanhood, for de- alive. In Nick's searchto find someoneto
spite her having been seduced by Gats- attend the funeral, we discover that
by prior to her marriageto Tom (hence Gatsby had his Simon Peter in the gam-
"wronged"), Fitzgerald insists that bler Meyer Wolfsheim,3managerof the
"When they met again ... [after the "SwastikaHolding Company,"who will
kiss] ... it was Gatsby who was breath- thereafter hold faith to the criminal's
less, who was, somehow betrayed."The special double-cross. Wolfsheim admits
sense of betrayal is complete when we to having been influenced by his first
learn about Daisy's direct conspiracy sight of Gatsby, as Peter was with his
with her husband, or indirect guilt by first view of Christ: "'I saw right away
silence or a lie, in precipitatingGatsby's he was a fine-appearing,gentlemanly
death at the hand of Myrtle's deranged young man,and when he told me he was
husband,George Wilson. It was Gatsby an Oggsford I knew I could use him
who sustainedthe hurt, even while in- good.... We were so thick like that in
tending Daisy no harm. everything . . . always together.'" Like
Gatsby himself appearstime and again Peter as well, Wolfsheim "denies" his
in associationwith rose colors, with pink "kingly" companion three times - first
colors, with roses, or with "rose" as a in a letter to Nick, next by refusing to
verb. The Christian symbolism of the see Nick at first at his office, and then to
rose becomes insistent. The sustained his face (Wolfsheim's office girl plays
imagery reaches its most painful effect the role of the damsel at the door in
in the picture of Gatsby'sdeath. Gatsby John 18: 16-17). We see that Nick has
returns to the water (he had not used at least used prudence, even if he has
his swimming pool previously that sea- not passed judgement on Gatsby. Had
son) with an inflatedrubberraft, which Nick not resisted the temptation to be
he shoulders: "Once he stopped and Gatsby's disciple by joining him in his
shifted it a little, and the chauffeurasked shady, money-makingenterprises,Nick
him if he needed help, but he shook his too would have been denying Gatsby at
head. .. ." Gatsby was shoulderingnot the end in order to avoid notice by the
the heavy cross of Calvary, but the in- police.
substantial,air-filled trapping of an af- At the funeral,the owl-eyed man with
fluent society. Myrtle'shusband,George thick glasses- whom Nick had first met
Wilson, ascends"Gad'sHill" (gad as an at a party at Gatsby's,and who, though
irreverent form of God), gun in hand, drunk at the time, had showed a ju-
to kill Gatsby. And when Gatsby is dicious evaluationof Gatsby's"front"of
found, shot to death,the wind has mov- culture - is the only one of Gatsby's
ed the burdenedraft so that "The touch acquaintancesother than Nick to show
of a cluster of leaves revolved it slowly, up. His owl-like lenses tie him to the
tracing ... a thin, red circle in the wa- theme of honest witnessing to the light
ter." In effect, the stream of Gatsby's (John 3), which is so prominentin the
blood surroundsthe leaves,tracinga per- novel (Doctor T. J. Eckleburg's4oft-
fect rose in the pool, the symbol of mentioned glasses). Like Joseph of Ari-
Christ.
The aftermath of the murder and 'Even a Lazarus-figure appears: Mr. Klip-
Nick's experiencesas attendantto Gats- springer (clip-an enclosure, plus springer),
by's body reveal the conclusion of Fitz- whom Gatsby wakes to make him entertain
gerald's plan. After finding the body, Daisy at the piano. Klipspringer,somewhat con-
fused, says, "I was asleep . . . . That is, I'd been
Nick and the servants return to the
asleep. Then I got up ... ." We first see him in
house "with Gatsby" - a phrase which pajamas down on the floor doing "liver exer-
suggests that Gatsby is somehow still cises" (a pun on the word live).

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474 ENGLISH JOURNAL

mathea, Mr. Owl-eyes seems to be a man aloud and then looking eagerly at me
of good sense and substance who has no . . . [as if he] . .. rather expected me to
fear of admitting his relationship to the copy down the list for my own use."
dead messiah, whose former hospitality Nick rejects the childish commandments
he had enjoyed. He and Nick, like Joseph of Gatsby's infantile "sermon on the
and Nicodemus (John 19:38-40), at- mount." Amusingly, the resolves had
tend the body while all others, those been put down in a copy of Hopalong
truly closer to Gatsby, remain away. It Cassidy, young Gatsby's "good book,"
is Mr. Owl-eyes who has the last word a novel which has for its hero a man who
for Gatsby's epitaph: "The poor son- lives without women, his one love hav-
of-a-bitch" - which carries its sardonic ing died, leaving him bereft. In the end,
meaning in relation to Christ. Nick bears witness to the final, vain, and
Nick attends during the dividing up of painfully faithful gesture that made Gats-
the clothes (John 19:23), for a friend of by turn out "all right in the end," his
Gatsby claims to have left his tennis shoes protection of Daisy, who needed none.
at Gatsby's house and wants them return- The evidence of Fitzgerald's exten-
ed; and in a scene with Gatsby's father, sive parody in the novel - the details
who has come East from Dakota, Nick of which have long been overlooked -
is shown an old list of "resolutions" that overwhelms. Many more bits remain for
Gatsby as a boy had determined upon speculation than have been included in
as a plan for "getting ahead." Nick com- this paper. The artistic device so suits
ments that Mr. Gatz seemed "reluctant Fitzgerald's tone and intent that only
to close the book, reading each item when one recognizes what he has done
can one fully appreciate the unusual
'A possible pun or eccl-(church) plus burg depth of The Great Gatsby - a novel
(city), hence "city of God." Throughout, the which Fitzgerald himself emphasized was
eyeglass sign becomes the watching eyes of God
(which are, ironically, inert and empty in fact). "constructed" rather than "lived."

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