The Great Gatsby

discuss and analyze the romance between gatsby and daisy from psychoanalytical perspective.

discuss and analyze the romance between gatsby and daisy from psychoanalytical perspective.

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While psychoanalytical theories fuel many therapies, Freud is still considered the 'father' of psychoanalysis. The main point is to become aware of the forces of unreason operating in all of us. Basically, to understand why one behaves a certain way which is not so great for them. Thus the cure becomes-- the answer to unreason is reason and understanding why with aid of an analyst will bring about that great moment of theraputic change through insight.

The behavior is unconcious and therefore only when the reasons become concious is there any hope of change at a deep instinctual level. So the behavior of 'now' is always considered a coping mechanism developed to protect ones psyche of 'then' from painful truths. The reasons are repressed.

Freud would consider Gatsby to be suffering from a Fixation Disorder. A way to cope which Gatsby developed unconciously to tolerate being abandoned. He could have 'chosen' others, but fixating is what he did. Fixation always has a binding to the libido and thus Gatsby's libido fixates on Daisy and all she represents. Because he believes she chose money over him: he earns money. The money means nothing more to him than an unconcious drive to return to the time of owning his own libido or life force as Freud would say. But, Gatsby has no insight into his own reasons and is concious only of the need for Daisy and that need to him means being the rich man she so obviously wants.

For me the novel's core lies in the irony that once achieving his goal; his fixation is met, but proves shallow indeed does he have a moment of real theraputic insight before he dies? Does he realize that by handing his life force over to the 'idea' of Daisy and allowing that to drive his entire adult life that his fixation has also lead to his death or does he die happy with a mind still wrapped in its coping mechanism?

I think (and that's all we do with literature is read it and formulate our own notions) that the autobiographical similarities between Fizgerald and Gatsby sorta imply that Gatsby did have insight because the entire novel can be seen as Fitzgerald's own insight into how his fixation on Zelda ruined his life and did cause his death eventually. But, then one wonders how much he would have written without his fixation because a need for money fueled his work as a need for money fueled Gatsby. So, to me the insight is that one can only work for self--one's own meaning and the money is a part of it and not the meaning. When money is meaning then something has repressed your own ability to 'be'.


The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald A Moveable Feast by Hemingway