Chapter 1 Analysis of The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby- this title is merely an adjective or epithet for the
main character of the story, which brings about the importance of
characterization in the book. Fitzgerald has a rather unique style of
characterization in his writing- especially in this book. His use of
irony, strong diction and symbolism plays a significant role in
conveying his certain ideologies about the people of this certain era,
and the embodiment of the "great American dream".
The eye of the story- Fitzgerald's weapon of observation is Nick
Carraway. This character is established as a neutral narrator of the
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He can be quite rational about Gatsby and makes him quite attractive.
He peculiarly gives the impression that he dislikes Gatsby, "who
represented everything for which he has an unaffected scorn." He then
modulates it in his next lines, where he gives a somewhat two-sided
opinion of Gatsby. This illustrates a dichotomy or duality- a split.
In terms of Gatsby, the important dichotomy is between the public and
private persona. Accordingly, the duality of J Gatsby is revealed
through the centrality of Carraway.
"If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then
there was something gorgeous about him."
Carraway negatively continues, but towards the end of this quote,
there is a sort of irony in the word "gorgeous". This word as a very
strong effect as it has a powerful and emotive vibe or meaning to it,
which brings about the idea of contradiction to what Carraway is
describing. Hence his opinion is slightly two-sided. We get the
impression that Gatsby is somewhat pretentious and superficial.
Carraway oscillates in his descriptions of Gatsby. Fitzgerald uses
this technique for the implication that he is not much more than
attractive physical presence at this stage. Carraway starts of by
having an "unaffected scorn" for him, and then begins to say that he
is, or was unique. The ideal of a "creative temperament " was used to
convey signs of weakness in Gatsby's character; the myth of Gatsby's
story was recognized at the end of this paragraph, and it is
illustrated that what happened to Gatsby closed off Carraway's
interest in the human condition. Fitzgerald does this by creating a
sense of sympathy with emotive language and imagery in his writing- it
was "what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily
closed out his interestâ€¦" This conveys Carraway's nihilistic
statement, giving into the concept of 'nothingness'.
It is anticipated from the first few paragraphs of the book, that the
main theme of the book is Gatsby's presence and his power of
challenging Nick's outlook on the world. We soon find that Gatsby
isn't what he initially appears to be. Behind his money and vulgarity,
Nick sees his personality as "gorgeous".
It is also exposed that money is a major theme in the novel and it
represents America and materialism in the twentieth century. This
leads to the relationship of the Buchanans to their social position,
which is very different compared to Nicks; regardless of the fact that
they both come from the same elite background. Fitzgerald creates an
invisible line of diversity between them with the symbolism of the
areas in which they live in. Carraway lives at West Egg- whereas the
Buchanans live at East Egg. These opposites represent the diversity of
their ways of life. Carraway's character seems to be more