Christina’s Thoughts: The Great Gatsby’s Bad Drivers (By: F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Near the end of The Great Gatsby, Jordan repeats a comment that was shared earlier on by Nick: “…a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver…” (186; earlier comment 63) Well, I guess you could say The Great Gatsby was full of these bad drivers. Once they hit the road, they were bound to crash (literally and figuratively). Let’s look at a few examples (if you have not read or seen The Great Gatsby, there are *spoilers*)…

Daisy and Myrtle (to me, the obvious) – Daisy was Tom’s wife; Myrtle was Tom’s mistress. Daisy was, well, literally a bad driver. She was emotionally attached to a man other than her husband who had reentered her life. Myrtle was infatuated with this other man (Tom), who was not her Daisy and Myrtlehusband, calling carelessly to Daisy and Tom’s house and leaving for nights to stay in New York with him despite her husband at home. I guess you could say, long story short, that Myrtle was bound to collide with another who was heading in the wrong direction with a man not her husband… it just so happened the person she collided with was Tom’s wife who killed her in the end.

Gatsby and Daisy – Gatsby was a hopeless romantic. His infatuation with a woman he had longed loved but who had moved on and married another man led to his ultimate demise in the end. He loved a careless women… in the end, his love for her led to his death. Indirectly, Daisy’s “bad driving” that mislead him towards a hope that would not become a reality killed him as well. She would not leave her husband, but Gatsby was too stubbornly in love to understand this. Rather than leave town to lay low for a while following Myrtle’s death, he remained stuck on Daisy and lost his life waiting for a woman who would not return to him…

Daisy and Tom – Daisy was a careless dreamer. Tom was a greedy jock. They both wanted more than they could realistically have. In the end, they were perfect for one another. However, it took the two deaths of both their admirers for them to recognize this. Their actions had consequences, andTom and Daisy in the end they went on living without truly recognizing the impact their actions had… Daisy was safe until she met Tom. Tom was safe until he met Daisy. Together, they caused bumps in the road that were hurtful to more than just themselves as they took out other “bad drivers” in their path.

Jordan and Nick – Nick originally made the comment about two bad drivers meeting to Jordan when they were driving a car and Jordan came carelessly close to hitting another man. Jordan noted how other people were careful and would avoid her, ergo, avoiding the potential accident. (63) She was yet another careless character, admittedly, who let herself fall for Nick at one point. Nick was a lost playboy who moved to follow his  Jordan and Nickpassion in writing, and instead got tangled up in the dramatic lives of unrealistic socialites who never saw the consequences to their actions… Together, they were caught up as careless bystanders who proved not right for each other in the end.

Jordan was a head-strong woman who was present, along with Nick, during the dispute between Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy that led to the end results… Jordan who watched it all and lived on like nothing happened… Daisy who killed a woman following the dispute with her husband over another man… Tom who lost the woman he was carrying on an affair with, ironically to his wife… Gatsby, the man of the hour, who threw lavish parties for a woman he could never truly have and who in the end died for her….Nick, a dreamer who was tied up in the whole affair through multiple connections, and in the end came out alright.

What other examples from the book can you think of that fit the theme “a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver”…can you elaborate on the characters’ relationships above…do you agree or disagree with these thoughts?


What do you think?

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