Motif of Eyes in the Great Gatsby

Decent Essays
Taylor Hultquist
Mr. Sudak
English 11
18 March 2013 The motif of eyes in The Great Gatsby Eyes are the gateway to the soul, or so the old saying goes. People’s eyes can convey their feelings - their anger, excitement, or worry. Eyes can also convey subconscious emotions, revealing hidden depths that might not otherwise be apparent. In The Great Gatsby we are introduced to many characters whose eyes effectively reveal their personalities. The author explores the symbolism of eyes as Nick, the narrator, observes the lives and interactions of his friends on Long Island. One of his acquaintances, Daisy, is a flighty girl, married to a retired football player. Her husband, Tom Buchanan, embodies the classic tough-white-male
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This is a trend, which carries throughout this novel continuously with all of Nick’s ‘east coast friends.’ During the same evening Nick notes that Daisy’s eyes “flashed around her in a defiant way, rather like Tom’s, and she laughed with thrilling scorn” (20). This quote is juxtaposed to an unflattering insight into Daisy’s character, as Nick observes in the insincerity of her comments about sophistication and the falsity of his evening spent with her and Tom. Yet despite all this, he still acknowledges that Daisy’s character always seems to be promising “gay and exciting things” have already happened and are still yet to come. Daisy represents the wild side of high end New York, but we see that this lifestyle is not quite as superior as everyone believes it to be. In fact, Daisy seems to view it in quite a bittersweet manner and cries that it is not entirely satisfying. What Fitzgerald is displaying through the two figures of Tom and Daisy is that while they want for nothing, they long for everything. In order to satisfy their desires they turn to money and society, and still find these lacking.
Nick moved from Midwestern America to the East Coast. Cities have historically been viewed as centers of depravity, while rural areas represent simplicity and thus a kind of innocence. Every time the characters travel between the Eggs and the city, they pass beneath a billboard containing the infamous eyes of
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