Eulogy - The Great Gatsby

The greatest sorrow of a life lost is a life without knowledge and experience. Jay Gatsby's life does not belong in this assessment – instead it is ours for not knowing him, for not looking beyond the surface. We are gathered together to pay our respects to a man who was so much greater than the society that hastened his demise. Jay's journey was never easy, nothing was ever just handed to him – he worked for what he had and what he lost. It is from this determination and persistence that Jay's unique outlook on life was moulded. It was only a few weeks ago that I stood on his front lawn, overlooking the bay, and we were discussing the rumours and truths about who he really was. He told me a story that day; a story of boy turned man by war, a story of loss innocence in the pursuit of wealth - a pursuit that was never truly accomplished. Jay was born James Gatz and was raised with his three younger sisters by his devote catholic parents on a farm in North Dakota. It was through this up bringing that Jay learnt of hardship, determination and dedication. Jay also gained an understanding of how much power knowledge gave a person. When Jay turned 17 he left his family so he try and make a better person of himself. His father, only this morning, told me how Jay would send monthly instalments of money home. It was only years later that his father discovered that sometimes Jay would go without board or meals, just so he could send money home. Jay never knew if it was by luck, chance or circumstance that Dan Cody and he met. All he could remember of that pivotal day was the overwhelming feeling that he needed to warn this complete stranger of an upcoming storm. Jay's good deed, which he saw simply as the right thing to do, changed his life forever. From Dan Cody Jay learnt about business and the lifestyle of the wealthy. When most young males would have forgotten about their farmer parents Jay didn't. He continued sending money home even after Dan died and he enlisted himself in the army. The army provided Jay with various opportunities to gain new experiences and extend his knowledge. Just before he was due to begin his active duty Jay met a young female, Daisy. He fell madly, truly and deeply in love – a love that had never flickered throughout the years of separation. It was this love that brought the end of him. When Jay returned he was changed a man, just like so many of the young men that were shipped out and managed to come back home. He found Daisy again, only she had married because she wanted a wealthy man. After all Jay had seen in the war and the knowledge that Daisy loved another, he became a victim of depression. However, his childhood lessons of hardship, determination and dedication provided him a solace. Through these fundamentals Jay built himself up from nothing into someone who everyone wanted a piece. Jay was a unique man; he utilized his surroundings to his advantage. Through his experience and knowledge he created a new life for himself, while still remaining connected to his old one. Jay never stopped sending money home – he even gave all his military pay to his parents when his youngest sister fell ill to the flu. His father asked me to read this section from Jay's favourite poem on his behalf;

So many dead and dying; the light is growing dim

The time so quick is flying; we totter at the brim.

So many though are born; the Worlds' refreshed each day.

The Sun comes after storm; from grief we become gay.

The young they are a beacon; the light of youth is bright

And even after darkest night; again comes Sun and light.

(So Many)

Jay you have moved on from this world. We may have only known of you for a short time, however, we shall not forget you and what you stood for. You were a decent man in an indecent society – you were not what society wanted but what we needed. We can all leave from this place with one more piece knowledge that we never had before; that there is always a light, even in the darkest of times. It is true that life lost is a life without knowledge and experience – Jay your life was not lost in vain only taken from us way too soon.