Sunday, 28 February 2016

America and Self Absorption - The Great Gatsby

Daisy Buchanan is one of the most self absorbed characters in the novel as she uses her status and love of money to look down on others. She is so driven by her social status and love of money that she does not care that her husband is cheating on her so long as she can remain in a higher status in society. Also she loves to be the centre of attention, she talks quietly so that people will come closer to her, again emphasising her self absorption. This coincides with her selfishness because the reader knows that she loves Gatsby and is only staying with Tom for the wealth and status yet when she is confronted about whether she loves Gatsby she just goes along with what is expected of her. As soon as Tom makes promises to better there relationship by being faithful she quickly discards Gatsby from her life. As long as the situation benefits her she does not care about anything else.

Tom and Daisy are described in chapter 9 as "they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made" Furthermore the couple are both destructive and self-centred as they completely disregard other people's opinions. Daisy in particular only cares what happens to her as long as she is happy that is all that matters. This is also shown when she lets Gatsby take the blame for killing Myrtle even though she was the one who was driving the car. This act of selflessness on Gatsby's part ultimately leads to his death. He sacrificed everything for the love of Daisy who would not have been able to face the disgrace from society and lose everything she believes in from Myrtles death. Therefore she is a completely selfish and self-absorbed character .

In terms of America today, according to Bill O'Reilly America is self-absorbed and ignorant. He identifies some quite shocking statistics such as 67% of the 1000 peoples asked did not know that the US is Capitalist, 43% could not define the bill of rights yet more than half of those polled could name at least two members of the Simpsons family. He rightly suggests that this is due to the "internet creating a generation of people who are self-absorbed, addicted, distracted and and ignorant people." This is similar to Daisy and she is so self-absorbed she becomes ignorant to the world around her. The fact that such a large percentage of people do not know general knowledge facts about their own country says a lot about how internet culture and teaching in schools has changed how much people are aware of what is going on in their own society. It makes a worrying future for America if statistics like these are not changed soon.

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