Possible Psychoanalytic Criticism of Gatsby

So I think that Tyson does a great job exploring the psychoanalytic criticism’s in Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby, however after reading this whole chapter I am left wondering if perhaps there are some other elements there that are not discussed as to why Gatsby has such a strong devotion to Daisy?

I know that Tyson explains how he had an unfulfilling relationship with his parents, so much so that he kills them off in his made-up back-story, but what I would be curious to know is the specifics of Gatsby’s individual relationship with his mother? Does he feel abandonment by her, and therefore transfer these feelings to the first girl that pays him even the slightest attention? And thus the cycle would continue when he had to leave for the war, Daisy herself had to abandon him,perpetuating Daisy as a suitable lover and mother placeholder, and the longer that he fantasizes about this, the harder it becomes for the reality to break up this idea that he has been imagining for all these years? Or is it possible that Gatsby has an Oedipus fixation? Is that why he is so estranged from his parents? Because he was madly in love with his mother, and therefore competed with the father, and in the end lost and left home? I feel that whatever way this dream of Daisy was born from, it was not a healthy one, and therefore I feel that it somehow has some kind of psychoanalytic criticism that can help me deconstruct this novel and understand, but the elements in Tyson’s chapter do  not satisfy my curiosity.

Does anyone else have any of their own ideas or interpretations on this? Thanks


I would like to argue that Fitzgerald  intends for Gatsby’s dream to be a symbol of the American Dream which pursues for a wealthy lifestyle. In this pursuit for wealth, the characters also fight for eternal youth. Gatsby believes that if a person makes enough money that he can buy anything. He thinks his wealth can erase the last five years of his and Daisy’s life and reunite them at the point at which he left her before he went away to the war. This fantasy shows how Gatsby is not only in constant pursuit of wealth, but once acquired, he is now in the pursuit of youth from the time when him and Daisy were young and in love. Similarly, Americans have a tendency to believe that if we have enough money, we can buy our happiness.

When I read this book for my 9th grade English class, we discussed at length how Fitzgerald places in between the New York City and the Egg Islands, the Valley of Ashes. The Valley of Ashes represents the corruption, whereas New York and the Egg Islands represent wealth. T.J. Eckelberg, representing the omniscience of God, is numerously referenced in this novel, particularly over the Valley of Ashes. I interpret that he is ashamed of mankind’s corrupt morals and pursuance of wealth which ultimately causes the ashheaps/wasteland below (as a representation for his visible disappointment).

When Gatsby’s dream is crushed by Daisy’s refusal to forget the past or deny that she has ever loved Tom, Fitzgerald is stating that the American Dream of wealth ultimately ends in destruction. One concrete historical example of this is lifestyle of the wealthy during the 1920s filled with eternal youth and parties, closely followed by the stock market crash and the Great Depression of the 1930s.