Is it worth it to love someone who doesn’t love you back?

“If someone doesn’t love you back, move on!” 

Those are the wise words my English teacher said to my class after we finished reading The Great Gatsby. Much of the story surrounds Jay Gatsby and his obsessive, unconditional love for his former sweetheart who ended up marrying someone else, Daisy Buchanan. However, Daisy ultimately does not love Gatsby as much as he wanted her to.

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I’m not entirely sure if I agree with my teacher’s words of advice, though, and I’m pretty sure Gatsby would definitely not agree. Is it really a bad thing to love someone if they do not love you back?

Wealthy and powerful Jay Gatsby used to be poor James Gatz, son of some “unsuccessful farm people”. His love for Daisy greatly motivated him to go from rags to riches, since he he felt that he could not provide for Daisy before because he was a poor soldier while Daisy had been born into a rich family. It seemed like everything Gatsby did in the story was for Daisy. He made a fortune so he could take care of her. He bought his house to be across from her.

Gatsby was even willing to take the blame for hitting a woman, Myrtle, with his car to protect Daisy, even though just hours earlier she had said that she didn’t just love Gatsby, she loved him and her husband, Tom Buchanan. This decision ultimately led to him getting killed by Myrtle’s husband. However, I believe that Gatsby loved Daisy so much that he would still have done anything for her even if she did not return his love at all.

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Gatsby’s character reminds me of my favorite character from  Les Misérables, Eponine Thénardier. Unfortunately, I’ve only seen the movie, but it was a fantastic movie nonetheless. In the film, Eponine was in love with Marius, but he was smitten with Cosette. However, she was still willing to take a bullet for him, resulting in her dying in his arms. She knew that she would never be able to take Cosette’s place in his heart, yet she still found the courage to die in place of Marius.

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Eponine and Gatsby are similar in that they were both willing to do whatever it takes to protect the person they love, regardless of anything and anybody else. They were perfectly happy to be hurt, if it meant keeping their loved one from being hurt.

To some, it may seem as though Gatsby and Eponine are too naive, willing to sacrifice so much for someone who could not do the same for them. However, I don’t think it was dumb or stupid of them to do so, because Eponine truly cared for Marius, and Gatsby for Daisy. Eponine was depicted dying a happy death, knowing that Marius was alive. Although it was not explicitly mentioned in the book, I do believe that Gatsby would have chosen to die if it meant that Daisy would not have to.  If they have that much love to give, who has the right to say that they are wrong to do so?

– Karen


2 thoughts on “Is it worth it to love someone who doesn’t love you back?

  1. I enjoyed this post a lot, a really creative comparison between the two that I haven’t seen before. Great job! 🙂 I like the way you analyzed their relationships.

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