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Was it right for Jay to die?

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Dexter Birkenbeuel Was it right for Jay to die or should he have lived?


Feliks No, not really. After all, he wasn't a criminal. His death serves no sense of the word, 'justice'.

But it does make 'emotional sense'; it makes necessary catharsis. Gatsby has been pursuing his dream for years--climbing up a peak, as it were. Then, when he reaches his goal, that goal is still denied him. Well, the novel can't end that way; with all of us revved up and on-edge. His death releases us from that tension. This is faithful to the Greek drama which the author was following for the structure of his novel.


message 3: by Monty J (last edited Sep 05, 2017 09:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Dexter wrote: "Was it right for Jay to die or should he have lived?"

Jay Gatsby was morally corrupt and a criminal who bragged about consorting with a notorious mobster who rigged the World Series, and he stole from innocent people by selling them worthless bonds, as detailed straight from the book here in my post: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

He was killed by Myrtle's husband for running her down in his car and failing to stop and render aid, then lied to Nick about who was driving, telling Nick, like a coward, it was Daisy. There were multiple credible and impartial eyewitnesses who said it was a man driving, not a woman. One such witness gave sworn testimony at the inquest. Gatsby was a proven liar to Nick, yet he believed him.

At a minimum, Gatsby was an accomplice to vehicular manslaughter when he failed to stop his car and render aid to the stricken Myrtle. Furthermore, not only did Gatsby lie about who drove the death car, his very identity was a facade, starting with his name, then telling Nick he was from a wealthy family and toured Europe looking for rubies. Tom got it right when he said "He got what he deserved." and "He threw dust in your eyes just like he did in Daisy's... ."

Until Tom forced him to admit he'd dropped out after only a few months, he pretended he was highly educated, "an Oxford man." He wanted people to think he was well read, deceiving them with his library of books whose pages hadn't even been cut. And who knows what lies he told to the virgins he deflowered.

Many would say that Jay Gatsby got what he deserved. Had he lived it would send the wrong message--that corruption paves the way to happiness. Read the book deeply and with an open mind and decide for yourself.


Geoffrey Aronson Cite the passages with the witnesses, Monty. There isn`t any conclusive evidence.


Monty J Heying Geoffrey wrote: "Cite the passages with the witnesses, Monty. There isn`t any conclusive evidence."

Okay, here's the link: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


Karen Once in a while Monty needs to be reminded that this book is a novel

"Many would say that Jay Gatsby got what he deserved. Had he lived it would send the wrong message--that corruption paves the way to happiness. Read the book deeply and with an open mind and decide for yourself."


Geoffrey Aronson Karen, we are all aware that the book is a novel. That begs the point as to the value judgements that we place on its characters. It says something about us when we laud an extremely flawed character. I don´t think Jay deserved to die, but then again, I believe he needed to spend a few restful years in perfect solititude.


message 8: by Nikolae (new)

Nikolae Keaveney Please, put the discussion topic into spoilers mode. I was looking forward to reading it and saw the name. Now I don't want to read it anymore. Please don't let this happen to other people. Put it in spoiler mode.


Karen Nikolae wrote: "Please, put the discussion topic into spoilers mode. I was looking forward to reading it and saw the name. Now I don't want to read it anymore. Please don't let this happen to other people. Put it ..."

Read it! This discussion won't spoil it for you


Jason Since Jay does not exist, why not? I guess you might identify with the character or maybe within the bonds of there romance. Death is certain, so yes it is right.


message 11: by Tom (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tom Trott I believe Jay is a criminal, to correct some people's interpretation of that, but ultimately he had to die. The light that shines twice as bright last half as long, and he shone so very brightly.


Geoffrey Aronson Jay was a bootlegger. Even though we today don´t consider the selling of liquor to be a crime,in 1922 it was a federal crime., Prohibition ruled the 1920`s. Add to that his further enterprise in fencing stolen bonds and he is 100% certified criminal. Read the book again and note the obvious all you deniers.


Jason This is not about the history of America, in my mind this is about what makes a gripping tale. Who wants the bad guy to live happily ever after? More bad guys.


Lilly Bollinger Personally, I don't know if it matters what he did in his life made him inherently good or bad. He was a person who wasn't perfect. That was what made him human, that weakness. One of my favorite quotes from the book is right after Gatsby died, "If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long in a single dream."


message 15: by Gary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gary Nicely put, Lilly.


Hannah I'd agree that it was right for Jay Gatsby to die. However i say this from the whole 'American Dream' perspective.

Jay Gatsby stood as someone who was trying to achieve this American Dream of having everything - popularity, money and the girl he so desired - which is what i believe he thought the American Dream was, however he only really achieved this through, as others have pointed out, corruption / illegal activites. In the end he believed he had it all (cheating his way there), however when his funeral came about no one from the 'lavish' parties he held showed up, not even Daisy.

I think it was important for him to die as he seemed the only character close to this idea of the 'American Dream', but at after his death - maybe he wasn't that close to it after all.


Feliks Karen, we are all aware that the book is a novel.

It's certainly more than that to some folks. To some, it's a way to expiate a self-coddling, imaginary WASP guilt. For instance, if you're a man who had a relatively useless existence earning money in finance or stocks and now feel [late in life] as if you never really contributed anything valuable to culture--if you feel tossed aside and abandoned-- the thing to do is pick up a book like 'Gatsby' and creep around in a mock-penitent "sack-cloth & ashes" pose. Suddenly your position is not lowly any more! Suddenly you are imbued with feeling.

Adopt the posture of a Moses, or a St. John-the-Baptist or some other moral authority; and use this secular literature as a cryptic codex of your neighbor's behavior. Gatsby or Melville or Twain are mirrors held up to contemporary life, after all. So, be the "evangelical figure" who can point out the foibles and illusions of our world. Show all us other Americans how we too, are in the same boat with you. We too, need to face up to our shortcomings. Self-recrimination isn't so tough to swallow when you can spread it around.

Remember the doomed salesman in Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh"? Exactly like that.

Yep...for insecure, dispirited, suburban family men, there's no need to retreat to the attic with a Lionel toy train set and the occasional ham sandwich + milk brought upstairs for you. Handy copies of great American novels can be the means of propping up long-lost fantasies of academic esteem which imploded years ago. And of course the magic of the internet. A man needs to be respected, after all. A man needs to have something to say. A man needs people to listen to him.

Poring over the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck with a magnifying glass, and then rushing to the podium to announce starry-eyed revelations and the answers-to-longstanding-mysteries, you can assume a new role as 'truth teller' or 'Prometheus' (bringer of fire) for your benighted fellow-citizens. Steer us back onto the right path. We need it. Show us the Light and the Way.

Staying up at night doing 'close-reading' of our national literature--that's the ticket--you can then preen and primp on the stage; carefully explaining convoluted/arcane lore inaccessible to mortal men; and thus remain a contributing member of society. After all, you have insight. You are in communion with the Heavens. You have important messages to bring us. Everyone forgets that you never had anything worthwhile to say for yourself.


Jason That is the internet. Good luck. A book is a better topic than something real. That is a gym rat mentality to public discussion. Condescension is a typical attitude your honor.


message 19: by Monty J (last edited May 11, 2017 12:25PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Feliks wrote: "It's certainly more than that to some folks."

Some people use Goodreads to address literature, because they care about it, while others, embarrassed by the inadequacy of their overpriced shallow education, stoop in desperation to serial absurdity, stilted opining and personal attacks to avoid facing what an author has actually put on the page.

Readers will decide for themselves who has more credibility.


Geoffrey Aronson Watch it, Feliks. Refrain from name calling. You´re on the brink.


Geoffrey Aronson And there is some truth to Monty´s words. You write, and I quote,"After all, he wasn´t a criminal", when discussing whether Jay deserved to die. Jay, most certainly is a criminal. If you knew your American history, and I am sure you do but are trying vainly to forget it, Prohibition was added to the US constitution in the second decade of the 20th century and anyone bootlegging was committing a felony, which would make Jay a criminal. Whether you consider him to be a criminal or not is moot, the simple fact is he was. You can´t deny it. It´s like saying the moon is made of green cheese. Hello, there, do we get a mea culpa from you?


Langston Morrison I think Jay Gatsby needed to die to satisfy Fitzgerald's theme: God is always watching. In the "Roaring Twenties," people were too concerned with ruthless ambition, rather than moral conviction; Gatsby's death was a result of the lack of moral conviction in his life. He had to die because Fitzgerald wanted him to die and made him die; he could not escape his mortality. His death was predetermined.


message 23: by Monty J (last edited May 18, 2017 09:56PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Monty J Heying Langston wrote: "I think Jay Gatsby needed to die to satisfy Fitzgerald's theme: God is always watching. In the "Roaring Twenties," people were too concerned with ruthless ambition, rather than moral conviction;"

I very much agree. You can almost hear "The wages of sin is death" being chanted by a Greek chorus at the funeral. This novel has been so "Hollywood-ized" into a latter day Romeo and Juliet that Fitzgerald's moralizing has been largely overlooked.

Jay had to die a cruel, gruesome death for the novel to make any sense. No one came to his funeral because no one trusted him. There's not a shred of evidence in the novel that Daisy rejected Gatsby because of his lower class. That's an arrogant elitest fantasy. Only a few hours before the crash, she had brazenly kissed him and declared her love for him in front of Jordan and Nick and danced a triumphal clog on the hearth in her own house. No, Daisy didn't reject Gatsby until Tom exposed him as a criminal.

In taking up with the likes of Meyer Wolfwheim, Gatsby forgot what he had been fighting for in the war. His medals had been rendered meaningless because he violated his oath of enlistment"...to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic." He died a disgrace to his uniform, for as the phone call from Slagle indicated, the law had caught up to him.


Karen Feliks wrote: "Karen, we are all aware that the book is a novel.

It's certainly more than that to some folks. To some, it's a way to expiate a self-coddling, imaginary WASP guilt. For instance, if you're a man w..."


Lol. You are right Felix


Geoffrey Aronson I am not a WASP but a member of a minority race.


Robert Katz Gatsby spent his life chasing an illusion. Daisy was nice, pleasant but basically nothing special. She was a vehicle for his dreams and no woman could have lived up to them. His life was essentially pointless and so was his death, and that was the point of the book. I realize that this is supposed to be one of the Great Books, but frankly, I always found it to be dry, a little boring, a little obvious and very sad.


Geoffrey Aronson Spot on, Robert. The last sentence is a zinger.


Feliks It'd be far more fitting if some of the unending string of modern-day literary fops and dilettantes among the readership for this book were to drop dead rather than continually promulgate their jabbering bullshyt....


Geoffrey Aronson Take a look in the mirror.


message 30: by Feliks (last edited Sep 07, 2017 10:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Feliks Uh, sorry to inform you; but rather than a finance background I actually have a degree in the humanities. More than one.

Your remark makes even less sense when you consider that the overwhelming appraisal from critics and audiences (that is to say, the obdurate impression of the work which has lasted the longest and spread the farthest in the English-speaking world) is the well-grounded rampart upon which my posture towards the novel rests.

So are we all supposed to look in the mirror and question our critical faculties because you prefer UFO theories to common sense? Sheeesh

This is clearly the stupidest nonsense found anywhere on Goodreads:

"No, we're not keen on that Jay Gatsby fellow because well..you know..he's kind of a crook when it comes right down to it, in fact Daisy and I are truly ashamed to be seen with a scoundrel with hands that dirty"
--Tom Buchanan, himself a bilious capitalist scumbag


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