AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

"So we drove on towards death": release and mechanized violence in The Great Gatsby

by Clayton Lawrence Powers

Institution: University of Tennessee – Chattanooga
Year: 2015
Keywords: Fitzgerald, F. Scott  – (Francis Scott),  – 1896-1940  – Criticism and interpretation.
Record ID: 2061371
Full text PDF: http://scholar.utc.edu/theses/176


Eric J. Leed postulates a theory of restraint and release as formative forces in the trenches of the European fronts. I examine F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby for its portrayal of release that is tied to the presence of automobile “accidents.” These events emblematize the suppressed memory of mechanized violence. My first chapter addresses Gatsby and his fantasy of release in pursuing Daisy and the implications of release for morality in the post-war world. My second chapter is concerned with Tom Buchanan, whose traditional ideas about “civilization” are juxtaposed with the mechanistic violence of his defense of those ideals. My third chapter explores the relationships the novel’s characters possess to the automobile as a character, and further, how automobility enables release. My conclusion will synthesize the evidence in Fitzgerald’s novel to make observations about the disconnect, forged out of a new age of mechanized warfare, between individuals and their actions.