Essay on A Freudian Reading of The Great Gatsby

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A Freudian Reading of The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby is generally regarded as an excellent novel which expresses much more than the superficial plot. The Great Gatsby could be, however, more complex than the average reader might imagine. The Great Gatsby is often interpreted as the corruption of the American Dream. In this framework, the Buchanans are viewed as the example of irresponsibility and degradation, and Gatsby the embodiment of idealism and sentimentality. In this essay, I want to offer another reading of The Great Gatsby in Freudian frame of reference.

I like to begin with the last. On this novel's last chapter, we confront the mystifying passage:

...gradually I
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The phrase of "fresh, green breast" is not casually selected, and this will become more affirmed if we scrutinize the sexual identities of Gatsby and Nick Carraway.

Nick Carraway's break with Jordan Baker could be very problematic, though on the surface it is because Jordan is "incurably dishonest"(75) and Nick thinks he himself is "one of the few honest people that [he has] ever known"(76). Nick, it seems, always has been half attracted to women and we don't forget the reason why he goes to New York is to avoid some girl.(*1) Gatsby is no better than Nick in this aspect. He devotes all his life to one single dream in which Daisy will be won. Gatsby, however, finally fails to fulfill his dream and even makes his life costed. Nick is the only one who knows and shares Gatsby's dream, for they are people of the same kind. Both of them fail to establish their sexual identity.

All children, in Freud's opinion, gradually construct their sexual identity when they become socially adjusted. For boys, though they see the mother as a sexually desired object in the early stage of sexual development, they will transfer the unacceptable desires in the later stage to other women. That is, boys become socially mature, adjusted, and accepted by accepting women other than the mother as the sexual object. According to this theory, Nick and Gatsby remain in the early stage of sexual

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