Language and Literature Program
Post Graduate Program
The State University of Surabaya
Literary work actually is expression of author’s experiences in daily life. Many kinds of point of view can be depicted in work based on the author’s experience such as background knowledge, background of study, ism that author beliefs and many thing that can be influenced in his/her thinking. Those experiences describe as the plot in the work and depicted in the characters of the story. Often, the most representative depiction is in the main character of the story. As in The Great Gatsby can be seen how Fitzgerald describes the environment at that time (1920s) when America grow to be industrial country and its influence to the people at that era.
To know what actually the author is and his/her experience in life can be done by analyze the work by using some approach or theory. Especially in this writing, will be used psychoanalytic criticism to know deeper about Fitzgerald’s psychology in his work The Great Gatsby, famous novel in 1925. In order to reach the aim of this writing, it will be discussed more about the characters of the novel and characteristics are depicted from their role in the story related to psychoanalytic point of view.
The Great Gatsby is a novel depicted American Dream in which people at that era compete to be rich and get more power than others. Because economy grew through industrial build by capitalist as economic system, for some of people it is easy to get wealth and used to obtain other desire because aimless in their life as trauma caused by World War I. Those situations came up with individualism among the people in that era.
As elaborated in previous paragraph that psychoanalytic criticism will be used in this discussion to analyze psychology of the author is that Fitzgerald. Thus, it is important for us to know more about psychoanalytic criticism which is established by Sigmund Freud in Tyson (2006). Dealing with psychoanalysis, Freud discuss about unconscious that is the notion that human beings are motivated, even driven, by desires, fears, needs, and conflicts of which they are unaware” (Tyson, 2006:12). According to this definition, the motivation is unknown by human being and become basis of their action and behavior.
Based on those basic theory, can be seen the character of Jay Gatsby, his unconscious mind led him toward something that he never have but wanted so badly and became his dream. That is his desire to possess Daisy who was his girlfriend when he still young. To reach his goal he did work “bootlegging” in order to be rich man and use it as power to posses Daisy. Even, Daisy was married by Tom Buchanan, Gatsby’s motivation to posses Daisy stay alive in his mind.
There are two unconscious behavior can be seen from what Gatsby’s depicted in the story and can reflected the psychology of Author, Fitzgerald. Those are being rich then used it to fulfill his desire by doing party and make affair with married woman. Next will be discussed each of them and relate it to Fitzgerald psychology.
Gatsby became a rich man by doing illegal business is that bootlegging, by doing the business He become rich in short time. Because of his wealth Gatsby live in hedonism, held party very often. It is happen unconsciously as motivation to get Daisy back to him. By this depiction can be conclude that Fitzgerald is a hedonist, doing party and take pleasure at the time. Using the money to obtain his desire in to get pleasure, act as upper class people and associate with other upper class or rich man in the area where they live. It is not matter of take pleasure but it can be the way to show up to others what he possesses. It can be caused by his family’s previous life as depicted in the novel. Family contributes to someone behavior in the future. According to Tyson (2006:13) “the “birth” of the unconscious lies in the way we perceive our place in the family and how we react to this self definition”.
Next analysis is focused about Gatsby’s love story and relate to Fitzgerald psychology. Based on the story can be seen that Gatsby fall in love with hedonist woman, Daisy pleasure with party and hedonism. It depicted how Fitzgerald’s desire, what kind of woman he likes. As a hedonist Man of course he will find the woman same like him. This is driven by desire and dream about woman that she want as his girl friend. Moreover, it is in line with Tyson (2006:16), argues that one common core issue is fear of betrayal, “the nagging feeling that our friends and loved ones can’t be trusted”. It is depicted when Daisy marry with Tom Buchanan, the rich man, and left Gatsby when He was a soldier. From this scene concluded that to get the woman who leaves him because his poor, he must become rich man in order the girl loves him. As Edwin Fussell marks in Gholipur, A. Mojtaba & Snahmadi, B. Mina (2013), “his pursuit of materialism is based on the belief that "all the magic of the world can be had for money”.
After discussion about what depicted in The Great Gatsby, main point can be got dealing with analyzed using psychoanalysis is that how he aim the wealthy. Finally can be concluded that the psychology of Fitzgerald considering with their work The Great Gatsby is driven by his desire in wealthy and woman.
Tyson, Lois. 2006. Critical Theory Today” (2 ed). New York; Rotledge
Gholipur, A. Mojtaba & Snahmadi, B. Mina.2013. A Psychoanalytic Attitude to The Great Gatsby. International Journal of Humanities and Management Sciences.