Gatsby’s Biggest Desire

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Adam Meehan psychoanalyzed The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Meehan’s article is, Repetition, race, and desire, in the Great Gatsby. In this psychoanalysis, Meehan covers desire and repetition thoroughly and does not necessarily go over race. In the novel race is not a large factor but Meehan did not necessarily cover all aspects of Gatsby’s desire.

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Meehan states that Gatsby chases Daisy because she is like the mother he never had and uses her to fill that void. The second is Meehan lacks to state that one of Gatsby’s greatest desires was money. Meehan insists that Daisy is a mere placeholder, an object of Gatsby’s true desire. He states that she represents something beyond desireas the symbol of that which the symbol wants but cannot have (Meehan Repetition, Race, and Desire in The Great Gatsby).

Gatsby doesn’t want to praise himself for what he is, the son of a poor farmer, but a man he wishes he was, part of the old money. One of Gatsby’s desire is to relive his past, which Nick’s suggestion that one cannot repeat the past. Meehan states that Gatsby laughs at that idea and states, of course, you can. This is showing that Gatsby is hoping to not only recreate the past but also wants to reconstruct it. Meehan’s second half of his psychoanalysis states that Gatsby does not just desire Daisy because of her looks. He desires the way she talks, smells, her whiteness, the feel she gives, the smell of her skin, her position and etcetera. Gatsby must climb along to achieve his desires because he pursues a source of nourishment which cannot be attained. Lastly, Meehan states that Gatsby desires Daisy because she is a reflection of his mother.

Gatsby never received enough love growing up from his parents and so he hopes that Daisy will fill that endless void. Gatsby was seeking love but not when it came to his parents. His greatest desires comprised of Daisy’s love, to become rich, and to change his persona. His whole persona began because of them, seeing them as shiftless and unsuccessful farm people made him disappointed in who he really was ( Fitzgerald 104). If Gatsby wanted to be loved by his parents he could have received it but he wanted nothing to do with them. Gatsby’s imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all (Fitzgerald 104). Throughout the novel when Gatsby even considers mentioning his parents it was never true, he was too ashamed of them. He rose from his own platonic conception of himself, and even if it meant believing his parents did not exist.

Gatsby’s conception of himself is what lead him to his greatest desire, money, which Meehan forgot to mention. He hated the poor lifestyle and saw other people living the glamorous life, and so he went out to pursue his dream. Daisy is an important factor in Gatsby’s life but there is little evidence love was Gatsby’s primary motivation. She was just part of his plan to reach his self-image. The first goal was was to become rich, and Gatsby was going to do whatever it took. Gatsby stated that Meyer Wolfsheim was the man who fixed the World’s Series back in 1919 (Fitzgerald 78).

This shows he was willing to do shady work with shady people to get what he wanted. His second goal was to erase his history, at his parties, no one knew him personally but by the rumors that were spread. Some stating that he was a German spy during the war, and was related Kaiser Wilhelm (Fitzgerald 48). Finally, he needed to marry Daisy and she was considered to be part of the old money, people born into wealth. No matter how rich Gatsby was, he would never hold the same value of someone that was born into wealth. Marrying Daisy would help him get closer to achieving that goal and being part of the old money.

Gatsby greatest desire has always been about money, because he hated the poor lifestyle ever since he was a child. Daisy was simply a placeholder for Gatsby, this was a sign that the love would never work. Gatsby grew up with the mentality that if you work hard enough, anything is achievable. This is true but not for everything in life, some things just cannot be achieved. Just like Daisy’s love, trying to hide his true identity, and trying to belong to a group when he was not born into it. Gatsby pushed away his own people and was trying to fit in where he did not belong, which lead him to his greatest downfall.

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Gatsby's Biggest Desire. (2019, Mar 26). Retrieved February 8, 2023 , from

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