“Blessed are the dead that the rain falls on,”
Catcher in the Rain
In this line, Fitzgerald may either be referencing an English proverb or a poem by Edward Thomas. Either way, the imagery of rain defiling Gatsby’s funeral adds to the already sad fact that not a single friend showed up to the service.
The idea of the helplessness that goes along with death also brings to mind J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. In the novel, teenage protagonist Holden Caulfield expresses his anger at the fact that his younger brother’s grave gets rained on, while all the living can run to shelter when it starts to pour. This is used to highlight Holden’s frustration with the lack of control he has over his world and its injustices.
In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby is able to escape poverty and create his own future, but in the end, all of his friends were only using him for his money. Now that he’s dead, the heavens can pour down on him, and there’s nothing he can do about it. The death of Jay Gatsby enforces the idea that none of us really have control over our destinies.
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