Regrets in The Great Gatsby and Passing Free Essay Example

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer

Throughout all the books read in class, there has always been a question of identity. The books that had the most prevalent showing of an identity crisis were The Great Gatsby and Passing. The main characters that had a problem with their identities were Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby and Clare Kendry in Passing. Gatsby’s change in identity was due to his unhappiness in the social class he was in. Clare Kendry’s change in identity was due to her using it for her own advantage.

Even though Jay Gatsby and Clark Kendry change their identities for different circumstances, I believe that the changing of identities is a process that can’t be reversed and will lead to regret which will eventually leads to their downfalls.

The two characters Jay Gatsby and Clare Kendry have different circumstances for changing their identities, which need to be closely analyzed to see where it all goes wrong. Jay Gatsby changes his identity from James Gatz to be wealthy enough to win back the girl of his dreams, Daisy Johnson.

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He was rejected by Daisy Johnson due to his social class. This event made him vow to himself to become wealthy enough to be Daisy’s dream man. To reach his wealthy status, he decides to start smuggling alcohol into America from Canada during prohibition. Clare Kendry passes from black to white because it gives her advantages her in life. Passing from black to white allows her to have the same privileges as white people at the time.

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This also let’s her not get discriminated for being a black person at the time, which allowed her to not be oppressed. For Jay Gatsby, he never truly wanted Daisy but instead wanted to be Jay Gatsby and be allowed to control his own fate by being rich enough to do what he pleases. In the quote, “He knew that when 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”(Fitzgerald, 110), it is seen that Gatsby is disappointed that once he kisses Daisy he won’t be able to come up with new scenarios to get her, which is seen in the line “his mind would never romp like the mind of God. He also compares himself to God, which goes to show how he thinks he can control every aspect of his life. For Clare Kendry, passing eventually takes a toll on her and her fated meeting with Irene makes her yearn to be in the black community again. The characters realize that changing their identities have flaws and realize too late that what they turned into, is not what they wanted and they cannot change back.

The changing of identities is not reversible and makes the characters regret their decisions with their brand new identities. Gatsby’s regret is that after he gets Daisy back by being Jay Gatsby, there won’t be any need for him to be the wealthy Jay Gatsby anymore. He won’t have to find ways to get Daisy anymore, which causes the whole image of Jay Gatsby, wealthy man that can control his fate, to shatter and make Gatsby a shell of what he once was. Clare Kendry’s “white” identity allows her to marry a white man named John and they also have a daughter together. When she has her fated meeting with Irene, she starts to want to be a part of the black community. Clare’s regret is that she can’t come back to the black community anymore because she passed on to being white and has a racist husband that wouldn’t allow for her to be in the black community. The irreversible decision to change identities always comes with regrets that are associated with their past identity and will eventually lead to the downfall of the character.

The regrets of changing into a new identity leads to the downfall of the character. With Gatsby’s regret may lead to him losing his Gatsby persona, so he pushes for Daisy to assert that he was the only one that she has ever loved in front of her husband, Tom. This starts the downfall of Gatsby. Daisy realizes that Gatsby’s persona is just for show and knows that if she decided to go with Gatsby, it would be like starting over with Tom again. She tells Gatsby that she is not in love with him and says that she is still very much in love with Tom. Tom, angry that Gatsby tried to take Daisy away from him, manipulates Myrtle’s husband, George, into killing Gatsby. With Clare Kendry’s regrets, she starts becoming friends with both Irene and her husband. By the end, it gets to the point where Irene thinks that her husband, Brian, is having an affair with Clare because they’ve been spending a lot of time together without Irene. John also learns that his wife is black around this time frame. At the end of the book, John starts yelling at Clare for lying to him about her race and Irene was also in the vicinity for when this happened. Clare dies and it is not known whether she jumped or got pushed by Irene. Her desire to be back in the black community has lead her to her downfall because of her experience with passing and how it’s in every part of her life.

In conclusion, even though Jay Gatsby and Clark Kendry change their identities for different circumstances, I believe that the changing of identities is a process that can’t be reversed and will lead to regret which will eventually leads to their downfalls. With the changing of identities, it can be seen that the main purpose of changing identities is not truly the main purpose, which can be seen with Gatsby, and that the advantages of the new identity will lead to disadvantages later on, which can be seen with Clare Kendry. The process of changing identities is also irreversible because it doesn’t allow you to go back to your past identity after realizing that the new identity is not that good. Lastly, the changing of identities has been shown to lead to a character’s downfall, such as Gatsby being killed and Clare Kendry also being killed.

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