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Thread: Why does Gatsby die?

  1. #1
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    Why does Gatsby die?

    I have read The Great Gatsby for my literature class of my final year of high school. I quite like the book and I understand the message Fitzgerald is trying to send about the hollowness of the American Dream of the hedonistic Jazz Age through Gatsby's failure to 'repeat the past' and win back Daisy. His tragedy is clear in the climactic scene in the hotel when Tom reveals to Daisy the truth about Gatsby's background. From this point on, Gatsby's dream is brutally finished. But what is the point of having Gatsby die due to a random accident. A mix up about who was driving which car puts an end to his life. What message is Fitzgerald trying to send in having Gatsby killed due to a horrible, unfortunate mistake on the part of Wilson (and Tom who honestly believed Gatsby was driving the car)?

  2. #2
    Fingertips of Fury B-Mental's Avatar
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    After everything he did for Daisy. He was no longer the person he used to be. That person was deadened and dead long before the end of the book. Would he be able to continue after Daisy's rejection anyways.
    "I am glad to learn my friend that you had not yet submitted yourself to any of the mouldy laws of Literature."
    -John Muir


    "My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light"
    -Edna St. Vincent Millay

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    So it's just a natural progression of Gatsby's failure to attain an impossible dream? There's no separate message in the random twist of fate that causes Gatsby's death?

  4. #4
    I dont feel that Tom completly believed that Gatsby was driving, I think that he knew that Daisy was driving but just couldnt bring himself to fully believe it so he thought if he told Wilson Gatsby was driving that frees him of any guilt and shows how dumb Tom really is by telling someone makes it true. The message that Fitzgerald is trying to send I have no clue, I have debated this with few people and each opinion can never be conclusive.

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    Fingertips of Fury B-Mental's Avatar
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    Something like that, but others here may have a different view. I sometimes see the end as, "Ohh how the mighty have fallen." If I were Gatsby, and I had worked so hard and changed so much for the love of one woman, I don't think that there is really much left for him. Even in her rejection of him he wants to demonstrate his love by being the fall guy. The author kills him off before we lose our sympathy, and thus he becomes some sort of romantic wunderkind.

    Not to sound silly, it has been a long time since I last read Gatsby I don't actually remember him dying in an accident, but its been maybe 10 years since I last read Gatsby. I guess I found him a pathetic character. I thought he took the blame for Daisy's killing someone in an accident.
    "I am glad to learn my friend that you had not yet submitted yourself to any of the mouldy laws of Literature."
    -John Muir


    "My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends - It gives a lovely light"
    -Edna St. Vincent Millay

  6. #6
    Registered User Padan Fain's Avatar
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    Call me a cynic, but I always felt it was just his way of being like Hemingway. Have to have the tragic ending.
    ok then.

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    Maybe you' could call Gatsby's death a rude awakening--like the stock market crash was to America.

  8. #8
    The new girl
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    I think Gatsby's death is Fitzgerald's attempt to display the trly careless nature of the wealthy. Daisy ensnares Gatsby, lets him completely fall for her, and ultimately destroys him. I think its kinder that he dies though, because in the end Daisy and Tom would just have retreated into their little microcosm of wealth and left Gatsby alone, and with him dying he'll never know, in his mind Daisy loved him, and that was enough to make him happy....maybe its just me being all sentimental but thats what I think anyway

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    in my opinion, i believe that Fitzgerald killed Gatsby's character to reprisent the ultimate failure of the American Dream (the corrupt version).

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    i think its part of the novel coming full-circle. Its a return to status quo: Tom and Daisy are together, Nick is lonely again. like a previous post said, i think it does represent the idea of crashing and burning after a rise to glory. obviously it cant directly represent the stock market crash and the depression as it happened in 1929, and TGG was published in 1925...but i think Fitzgerald did latch onto the idea that this wonderful extravagant jazz era he was experiencing was heading for a messy end.
    Whatever the reason, it certainly adds wonderful irony to the title

  11. #11
    his music great, drugs na chef's Avatar
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    well i don't know if this will still help but here it goes. the reason why, i think, he dies like that is more like to show love he had for her, look lets say that they found out that Daisy was driving, he would have killed her, he couldn't loose her again, not if he could stop it. Also remember he was trying to recapture his past with her, he wanted everything to be like it once was, perfect.
    But lets say thats not it, maybe since he realised that once Tom said all those things of him, about Daisy and himself (tom) the [secrets] they knew of eachother, that what happened in the past stayed in the past. Maybe he realised that yes he could get back with Daisy, but all that happened when he wasn't there with her he couldn't change she had actually moved on with her life, she married, had a baby. so maybe he realised that he wasn't part of her like how she was part of him, she didn't need him like how he needed her, so he found no reason on fixing things or to go on with life, becasue his reason for everything he did was her.
    I hope it helps
    PS. sorry for the spelling i can't spell jiji

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    Gatsby's entire life, after meeting Daisy, was, in my opinion at least, all a result of his love for her. After coming back from the war, he took a job offering, that though criminal, was high paying. He understood Daisy was materialistic and for this reason, he worked hard dealing illegal bonds and bought a huge mansion directly across the lake from Daisy so he could be near to her. He threw huge parties and lead a lavish lifestyle in the hope that she may hear of his large parties and come to one.
    Once it was clear to the audience that Daisy and Tom would stay together, there was no reason for Gatsby's existence anymore. If he was to stay alive, he'd mope and stalk Daisy, becoming irritating to the audience. It was certainly a dynamic way to end the book!

  13. #13
    Why does Gatsby die?


    Gunshot Wounds:

    4.1 POE: back, level of L2, PVL, right, 8 x 10 mm., directed anteriorly, superiorly and medially, puncturing the right lobe of the liver from inferior to superior, puncturing the diaphragm, and lacerating the heart from the posterior wall of the right ventricle to the anterior wall of the left atrium, and puncturing the anterior chest wall;
    POX: none. A metallic slug, 9 x 18 mm. was recovered from the subcutaneous tissues of the anterior chest wall, along the 2nd ICS, MCL, left.
    4.2 POE: nape, level of C5, right, 8 x 8 mm., directed anteriorly, inferiorly and slightly medialy, fracturing T1;
    POX: none. The slug embedded within the spinal canal.
    4.3 POE: abdomen, AAL, just above the anterior iliac spine, right, 10 x 12 mm., directed posteriorly, inferiorly and medially.
    POX: none. The slug was embedded deep within the muscle tissues of the right thigh.
    4.4 POE: abdomen, MAL, just above the iliac crest, left, 10 x 12 mm., directed posteriorly, inferiorly and medially;
    POX: none. The slug was embedded deep within the muscle tissues of the left thigh.
    5. Hemopericardium, massive.
    6. Hemoperitoneum, moderate.
    CAUSE OF DEATH: Cardiorespiratory Arrest due to Hemorrhagic Shock due to Multiple Gunshot Wounds, Back and Nape.

  14. #14
    Love of Controversy rabid reader's Avatar
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    Fitzgerald kills Gatsby to show the final peice of the tragedy... Gatsby's generious parties, his lavious lifestyle in the end gave him a funeral in an empty church. The parties he through did not buy him any favour with the people that attended them... his parties(money) in the end acheive nothing, ethical sacerfice he made to get that money in the end left him as a lonly dead man. It was the final discription of the flaw of monetary success.
    A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him.
    - Orwell

    Read of my Shepherd

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    I think that killing Gatsby was a way to sum up the story. Tom and Daisy left, Jordan was leaving, Nick had his own life. Without Daisy, Gatsby was nothing, so he had to die. I found it sad when Gatsby died after everything he did for Daisy, but it had to happen.

    Also, I think Fitsgerald used Gatsby to represent the American dream, and by killing Gatsby he was trying to make a statement about the American dream. Yes, no, maybe?

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