The Great Gatsby not only helps readers understand the concept of God, but reenacts the life of Jesus with the main character, Gatsby. The writer of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, was not only religious himself but was surrounded by others who have religiously impacted him and his writing. Growing up, Fitzgerald went to a Catholic school for a short period of time and became close with his priest.
His priest taught him many lessons on how to be faithful. Being Catholic made him a minority, which made him careful of how he expressed his faith. Writing about the son of God was Fitzgerald’s way to express his Catholicism. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald depicts a world which has lost its religious direction; “yet it is also a model for living spiritually in an age when wealth and material goods have replaced conventional religion” (Sanders 109).
There is a lot of lying, cheating, and illegal acts that tear a lot of the character’s worlds apart. Most of the time these acts were performed for superficial things. Not only does Fitzgerald relate to Gatsby himself, but he designs a main character who expresses his own religious beliefs, defying the norm. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s religious interests impacted The Great Gatsby by representing Gatsby as a “son of God” through his Christ figure, faith, sacrifices and rebirth.John the Baptist is a familial relative of Jesus whose birth was foretold by Gabriel. John then sees the spirit and then preached that Jesus is the son of God. In The Great Gatsby, Dan Cody serves Gatsby in similar ways as John the Baptist did to Jesus.
When Gatsby warned Cody of an impending storm, Cody took young Gatz, who then gave him his new name as Jay Gatsby. This book presents Jesus as a figure who essentially decided to make himself the son of God, then brought himself to ruin by refusing to recognize the reality that denied his self-conception. Jesus is faithful to his dream, created by himself, but scornful of the factual truth that finally crushes him and his dream. All of this is a very appropriate description of Gatsby.
The connection Gatsby has with Christ is obvious throughout the book; “prior to meeting Dan Cody, Gatsby had been making a living as a clam digger and salmon fisher . . . Gatsby’s ‘fantastic conceits’ like the puzzling parables of Christ, became Gatsby’s spiritual food” (Tanner 468). Gatsby worked very hard like Jesus, and he also seems to share the same amount of pride as him when he catches a fish. Even Nick seems to recognize Gatsby and is able to “read” him.
Almost everyone has heard of God or stories about him, Gatsby relates so much to Him to the point that people think they recognize Gatsby like they have met him before (Hochman 16). Gatsby has had many rumors spread about him. Through all of the years of people believing that Gatsby killed a man, Gatsby stayed positive and never seemed to worry about it. Written throughout the Gospel, Jesus says to stop worrying because even in our toughest times, God’s help is available in our worst case scenarios. Gatsby’s views on life were very similar to Jesus, he has trust in our father and trust in himself to accomplish his goals.
“Christ taught the multitude from the boat on the Sea of Galilee and was mysteriously seen along the shores in places which amazed people” (Tanner 468); Gatsby takes after Christ and mysteriously left his family to live his extravagant life along the water. All of the water that Gatsby chose to live around represents his holy water. When Gatsby was reaching toward the green light, he was praying to God that him and Daisy would be together again. Gatsby did not seem upset often throughout the book, it was because “your private griefs, merely as yours, belong to yourself, your nearest friends, to Heaven and to nature” (Buell 270). It seems that Gatsby’s closest friend was God. God is the only person that truly understands the purpose of Gatsby. Although it does not seem right to abandon your family, Gatsby only did it for Christian love. For one thing, a lot of people sin and don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, yet God will open your eyes to see how destructive it can be.
But God does not want anyone to live with guilt; he wants us to know and fully experience His forgiveness. As the son of God, Gatsby understands that by bootlegging he can get in a lot of trouble; once he earns the money to win Daisy back, not only will he forgive himself, he will live a life in happiness believing that Christ has forgiven him too. “Our maker knows and each man’s own soul knows that there are thoughts and intents of the heart .
. .” by winning Daisy back, Gatsby can finally live a life with Christian love, getting her away from her non Christian husband (Buell 269). There is a purpose that God has given to each person in the world; Gatsby may have done stupid illegal things, yet what Gatsby has intended to do is only known by himself and God. The most obvious connection between Jesus and Gatsby is faith. Gatsby lost Daisy because he did not have enough money, yet he stayed optimistic and he knew that life gave him many opportunities to become wealthy enough for her; “He actualizes himself through the faith and optimism that life holds limitless possibilities for the individual who embraces himself and the world around him” (Sanders 115). Gatsby lives on his own and is continuously put down for five years because through all of his efforts to see Daisy at his parties, she never seemed to show up. ‘”I don’t think she ever loved him.
Gatsby turned around from a window and looked at me challengingly. You must remember, old sport, she was very excited this afternoon . . .
”; Gatsby knew that Daisy did not love him but he constantly made up excuses and refused to believed that there was not a chance of getting her back (Fitzgerald 159). We are to run with endurance during the race that is set before us, and we do this by looking to Jesus, who endured the cross and faithfully provided salvation to those who believe. Why did He do this? For the joy that was set before Him. Just like Jesus, Gatsby had a faith that made him believe that sufferings led to redemption.
As Gatsby strives to faithfully make disciples, he has the same perspective as Jesus. When Gatsby faces challenges, gets tired, he remembers what joy it is to share Christ’s love with others, to watch His mercy, grace, and redemption bring hope to the hopeless and save the lost. His faith in objects kept the positivity present throughout the book; “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.
. . . and one fine morning So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” (Fitzgerald 189). The faith Gatsby has gives him the ability to be “okay” in the end because if he is okay with losing Daisy the first time, believing that he will be with her in the end, then Gatsby is most likely okay with dying for her by trusting God to help him in Heaven. Gatsby’s issues that made him patient, faithful, and God like.
Gatsby went through five years of waiting before he was reunited with Daisy. Gatsby had to change almost his whole lifestyle before he was good enough for her. Gatsby believed that even if life gives us challenges, it also gave us years to overcome it.
Although he made it through a lot of the obstacles illegally, like earning money by bootlegging, “Gatsby, offends our sense of decency overall, and yet his on redeeming act – the protection of Daisy to whom he continued faithful – bears the superficial character of christian love . . .” (Tanner 467). Being faithful was not always easy for Gatsby; “He kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God” (Hochman 31).
This betrayal was not unlike Christ because “Christ had the choice of entering the Garden alone to commune with his God, but by taking his disciples with him, he set the stage for the judas kiss of betrayal” (Tanner 472). Both Gatsby and Christ has made the decision to not “climb on it” but decided to take a kiss (Tanner 472). Becoming rich and keeping a good name was not easy for Gatsby and like Jesus, he was forced to make some sacrifices. In order to keep a good reputation, Gatsby threw parties and had a lot of fun. Yet Gatsby sacrifices his drinking so he does not make any drunk mistakes. Gatsby even sacrifices his life for Daisy. Gatsby’s love for her was his downfall. When Myrtle is run over by Daisy, Gatsby takes full blame for it blinding him from the consequences that could arise.
In that scene, Myrtle’s husband is livid and had lost what he thought was his true love; “By half?past two he was in West Egg, where he asked someone the way to Gatsby’s house” (Fitzgerald 8). Mr. Wilson killed Gatsby out of the pain he had for losing his love but little did Wilson know, it was Daisy. Gatsby was representing Jesus taking blame for all of the sins made by everyone else. Jesus’s crucifixion was indeed the greatest act of sacrifice in the history of the world, a perfect demonstration of His love. Gatsby was being God-like and selfless to save the one girl he believed he loved.
After Jesus was crucified, many people believe that one day, he will be reborn. The son of God, Gatz, has already shown that by being reborn into Jay Gatsby. When Cody gave Gatz his new name as Gatsby, “Fitzgerald gives his reader the sentence .
. . which announces that Gatsby was ‘a son of God.’ The entire scene of course, describes the baptism of James Gatz and the rebirth of Jay G at the hands of Dan the Baptist” (Tanner 468). Gatsby’s rebirth changed him from a poor, average man, into this mysterious. rich man.
Gatsby completely got rid of his past; he was in hope of discovering a sense of balance between giddiness and despair capable of sustaining a man without delusion as he enters life’s long decline. The notion that the past can be arrested, or perhaps reversed, recurs in The Great Gatsby. It is almost like Fitzgerald liked to entertain the readers with this sense of hope for Gatsby. Just like from God, we are given a living hope from the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, Gatsby is the son of God. Not only does Gatsby have similar lives to Christ, but he shares the ability to spread his faith and make necessary sacrifices. Gatsby continuously chased after Christian love and was willing to do anything to make Daisy happy. The continuous faith Gatsby showed helped him through the hardest times in life. Just like Christ, Gatsby was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to cover other people’s sins. Daisy’s happiness was more important than his own and Gatsby prayed to the green light that one day him and Daisy would be together again. Gatsby dies in the service of his ideal as a result of an unjust judgement, ironically evoking the sacrifice of Jesus.
The comparison between Gatsby and Christ is obvious throughout the book which makes the readers question whether Gatsby represents the son of God.