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Thread: help dr t j eckelburg

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    help dr t j eckelburg

    Could someone please help me i dont understand how t j eckelburg, as a symbol relates to the theme of the decline of the american dream!!??
    please help ta xxx

  2. #2
    the eyes oft j eckelburg symbolize a higher power (God, etc.) watching the characters.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    i have always been told that TJ Eckelsburg was a higher power, but im not so sure. It is more that i question how much importance has been placed on the eyes over the years, ridiculous amounts of attention, to something i simply see as a nice descriptive way that fitzgerald is allegorically describing how his society is losing morality and a personable touch, everything is 'advertising', the person that left the ad there didnt even bother taking it down, reflecting a businessman that is lazy and willing to litter the skyline for an ad that nolonger has meaning.

    Although when Fitzgerald tells the reader about the advertisement, he does so in a very descriptive beginning to a chapter (evidenced by all the personification of the ash people and town etc). So the fact that this advertisement is meant to be a 'higher power may well be the case. I always thought however, it was more about the placement of advertising, and how this reflected the sort of society that would put an advertisement, in such a 'hellish' place as that. It seems that the area that the eyes look over is quite immoral and dessolate (cheating wives live there, bankrupt buisnesses, apathetic men) and simply the fact that there is an old ad there (see first para for explanation), and the fact that it is dirty and old and faded represents the society rather than a 'higher being'.

  4. #4
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    Jun 2007
    next door to the lady in the vinegar bottle
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    Two things about interpreting the symbol of the eyeglasses:
    #1-- they ARE eyeglasses, used for what -- to correct one's vision. Do you think that Jay Gatsby's obsession with Daisy lies in the fact that he is deluded -- can't "see"
    #2 You could interpret the eyeglasses as some higher entity, say a judgemental God or the closed society itself
    judging people.

    And on a more broader scale, the person who brought up the idea of advertising may have been on to something. Certainly all through his works Fitzgerald examined American materialism, and all that is falsely advertised about the American Dream. Keep in mind though, if you are the type of reader that takes into account the author's biography as incorporated in his work: Fitzgerald seemed to be a little uneasy about his status in both American literature (he felt insecure around Hemingway, at least Hemingway believed it ("A Moveable Feast." but especially in American life. Fitzgerald had a love-hate relationship with the upper middle class.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    North Carolina
    I think the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg do represent the eyes of God, passively watching the moral corruption of the Roaring 20s.

    Fitzgerald heavily suggests this in Chapter 8 as Wilson looks out the window saying, "God knows what you've been doing, everything you've been doing. You may fool me, but you can't fool God!"

    Then Michaelis "saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg, which had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night."

    "'God sees everthing,' repeated Wilson"

    I think Fitzgerald uses the eyes to personify God. However He just watches, removed from American life in the Roaring 20s. As He sits by in a barren wasteland, moral corruption - materialism, consumerism, bootlegging, etc - flourishes. For me, the fact that it's an advertisement adds to God's demeaned status. He's just a symbol, like Gatsby's new car is a symbol for materialism. I think Fitzgerald felt that God disappeared from American society in the Roaring 20s - disappeared to a barren wasteland where ash covers the failures of a dying American Dream.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2009
    New York City
    I've read from Scribner that this 'character' didn't exist until Francis Cugat created the jacket for the book, speckled w/ a set of giant yellow eyes overlooking the skyline (the jacket preceeded the completion of the manuscript). It was rumored that Fitzgerald was so taken by the artist's creation that it inspired him to splice something of relevance into the story, eventually becoming the god-like voyeur above Wilson's garage.

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