Critic Thomas C. Foster argues that this book isn’t about Gatsby. It’s about watching, seeing, and blindness (Twenty Five Books That Shaped America). What do you think he means?

I find this perspective of The Great Gatsby to be quite profound. Daisy and Tom, at the beginning of the book, know themselves to be upper class and well off, seeing their socioeconomic status for what it is. But both of them, in their individual ways, conflate their social status with knowledge and deserved power. Tom, in his reading of novels, sees himself as educated. But the books he reads are written by men like him who wish to retain their social power, and as such, he is blind to the worthiness of the working class. Daisy herself is given constant indications that Tom is unfaithful to her, but chooses blindness rather than to confront her circumstances. Gatsby, on the other hand, watches Daisy from afar, completely blind to the people he’s entertaining and the life that has carried on around him. When Gatsby and Daisy finally connect, he views his own possessions with a newfound confusion, as though he's never truly seen his circumstances. It seemed I ironic to me, the song that plays in the background of the illustrations when Daisy and Gatsby are first together there. They are infatuated with each other it seems, and it is implied that they feel as though they’ve been missing this sort of connection with someone for quite a while. The song in the background is about economic hardship, and how to love consoles such hardship. “One thing’s sure and nothing’s surer // the rich get richer and the poor get — children.” This sort of symbolism and the juxtaposition between seeing things through the lens of personal perspective, and viewing them as they actually are, are central themes in this novel.

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English + Political Science double major

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Elijah Walker Lyons

Elijah Walker Lyons

English + Political Science double major

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