True love is an emotion that every human being should have the privilege of experiencing once in their life. There is no one correct definition for this feeling, it is definitely different for everyone, but in the end love should make your life better not more difficult. These days the concept of true love has become cliche and people are letting outside factors dictate their emotions. This problem, while it is very prominent today, is not a new thing. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, the idea of mistaken true love fills the pages.
All the characters have different ideas of what love really is and its worth. Fitzgerald uses his characters Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby to show three different yet equally flawed ideas of true love. This paper will show in detail the flaws of each character’s thinking. I hope to create a clear definition of true love through deductive reasoning, ruling out what love is not will help show its proper definition. Tom Buchanan is a wealthy high class man. He has the grossly mistaken idea that his social status entitles him to do whatever he wants.
He is married to Daisy, which means he swore to love and cherish her always, but throughout the novel Fitzgerald makes it seem as if he doesn’t even like Daisy let alone respect her enough to love her. As Nick says when introducing the characters of Tom and Daisy to the reader, Why they came East I don’t know. They had spent a year in France for no particular reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully wherever people played polo and were rich together.
This was a permanent move, said Daisy over the telephone, but I didn’t believe it- I had no sight into Daisy’s heart but I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game(Fitzgerald 6). This segment shows how Tom had little respect for Daisy and just brought her along as if she were just another piece of luggage, a trophy wife. True love is not an emotion you can feel for an inanimate object or possession. Tom is also unfaithful to Daisy.
Love is not something you easily throw away or put aside as Tom does when he so freely goes to Myrtle Wilson to have his affair. If Tom claims to love Daisy, which he does, he would not have the desire to go out with other women at all especially not have a full relationship with another woman in another town. Tom is not secretive at all of his relations. On one trip to New York City he insisted Nick meet her, “I went up to New York with Tom on the train one afternoon and when we stopped by the ashheaps he jumped to his feet and, taking hold of my elbow, literally forced me from the car.
We’re getting off,’ he insisted ‘I want you to meet my girl. ’”(Fitzgerald 24). The fact that Tom is so willing to share with everyone, even Nick, Daisy’s cousin, means he has no shame and doesn’t care that he is stomping all over Daisy’s heart. True love is not a chore and should never be looked at in that light. Daisy also has her problems with the definition of True Love. Daisy thinks she is in love with Gatsby, but in actuality she is far from being truly in love with him. They knew each other when they were younger, but Daisy, although she had strong feelings for him, let her family’s expectations keep them apart.
Because Gatsby did not come from money and was merely an enlisted soldier he was not fit for Daisy who came from an upper class family. This cannot be true love because true love comes naturally and above all other things and nothing should ever keep you from the one you truly love, especially money. No matter how bad their situation may be they should always be most important. Now Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan who treats her as a possession. Daisy does not see anything wrong with this picture and actually seems to think it is how every marriage should be.
She says regarding her daughter, “I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool-that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” (Fitzgerald 17). The love a parent feels for their child should be the purest form of unconditional love. A baby does not ask for the love of their parents, their parents are supposed to just freely give it. This shows that Daisy has no interest in her daughter being completely happy. She is more concerned about her marrying into status and living an empty life with money.
Now that Daisy and Gatsby have been reunited and seem to have feelings for each other, Fitzgerald hints at the idea that Daisy and Gatsby truly are soul mates. This notion is put to rest, because while Daisy does enjoy the time she spends with Gatsby, and is actually happy for once, she would never leave Tom because he is safe and she knows what to expect with him. The fact that Daisy allows these outside factors to influence her decision emphasizes the fact that she does not love either of the men in her life. If she truly loved either one she would be with them no matter what other people would think or what she had to give up for him.
Jay Gatsby is perhaps the character with the most screwed up idea of what love is. He begins the novel thinking he loves Daisy and all he wants is her love in return. He then becomes confused by equating Daisy with money and social status. Ultimately he just wanted the opportunity to have Daisy rather than actually having her. At a young age Gatsby became infatuated with Daisy, a girl he met while training in the Army. He decided right then and there that one day he was going to have her. His reasoning at the time was that he was in love with her which later we find was not the case.
The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his platonic conception of himself… So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end” (Fitzgerald 98). He thought if he only could be rich he could have what he thought was the love of his life. Not only is this a terribly screwed up way of visualizing true love but it did not work for him either. Love is something that must be worked for but should not be conditional in the sense that you must be a certain way, such as rich, to obtain it.
Love should be freely given with nothing expected in return. Even though Daisy is married now Gatsby still expects her to just drop everything because now he is a man “worthy” of her, now that he has money. Gatsby throws lavish parties for the simple fact of getting Daisy to notice him but doesn’t really enjoy his parties or the lifestyle he is living because he can’t let her go. Love also ultimately makes you happy and Gatsby’s “love” for Daisy is making him miserable as he just waits for her to show. He still envisions her as the girl she was before, a girl that claimed to be in love with him.
Gatsby says to Nick, “I don’t think she ever loved him… Of course she might have loved him just for a minute, when they were first married-and loved me more even then, do you see? ” (Fitzgerald 152). He refuses to believe that she has changed or that she could possibly care for Tom the way she cared for him. Love is also not something you can force another person to feel. Gatsby wants so badly for Daisy to just leave Tom and run to him, but if Daisy is not willing to do that then she must not really love him. Also as the old saying goes If you love something, let it go.
If it comes back its true, if not, it never was. Gatsby let Daisy go so many years ago and she is not coming back so he needs to move on and find happiness somewhere else in life. The emotion of True Love is probably the most difficult to clearly define. Everyone has different ideas of what real love is and how it should be, however most of us do agree on what it is not. My boyfriend and best friend, gave me this definition, “True love means that you would do anything for someone and always put them before you no matter what. And that for the rest of your life you will stand by that person through the darkest days.
He stated, “That was a foreign concept to me until recently. ” We both realized what true love really felt like when our baby boy was born in September. The love parents feel for their children is the truest, strongest, most unconditional love there is. I never knew it was possible to feel so strongly for a person you barely knew, his birth made me believe in the idea of love at first sight. The birth of our baby also really helped us realize that all the problems we had in our relationship were trivial and what actually mattered was how we really felt about each other.
My sister’s opinion was, “True love is absolute. They care about you for the person you are and accept you, and would never try to change you. When you are in love you just know, if you have to ask the question ‘Is it real? ’ then it’s not. ” The details I pulled from the novel clearly show that none of the characters experienced true love. It is semi-ironic that Fitzgerald uses the theme of “love” plenty throughout the novel yet really, while the characters may like each other or care about one another, they do not truly love each other.