Fitzgerald's Great Deception: The Unexpected Hero

1410 words - 6 pages

The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is an insightful story with many different themes and motifs. Some of the more obvious themes are wealth and social class. The theme that is not as clearly seen is the theme of deceit. One may think that the title, The Great Gatsby, reveals the hero of the story. However it is not Gatsby, but Nick Carraway that is the hero. Fitzgerald used the theme of deception and Nick’s first-person point of view to show his readers that Nick is the hero of The Great Gatsby.
In the first few chapters of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald paints Jay Gatsby in a positive light. Nick Carraway, the story’s narrator, tells the reader, “He smiled understandingly – much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced – or seemed to face – the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.” (Fitzgerald 48) Nick also conveys that everybody who attended one of Gatsby’s parties wanted to get to know him. His guests were interested in his true story; they speculated about his past. (Fitzgerald 44) “Gatsby” was a mystery that everybody wanted to solve. Little did they know that his true story was not so great. Fitzgerald created a theme of deception. He used delayed characterization and waited until chapter four to start revealing to the audience Gatsby’s true character. By the end of the book nobody wanted to trust Gatsby; for the mystery of him had finally been solved. He was uncovered as lying and deceitful. It is difficult for the reader to distinguish whether what they “know” about Gatsby is true because they were not told any finite information about Gatsby until later on in the book. Not only does the audience discover they have been deceived by Gatsby, but even the title, The Great Gatsby, is deception by Fitzgerald himself. Jay Gatsby was not a great guy, but a great fraud.
The plot of The Great Gatsby is heavily dependent on deception. Throughout the entire book the reader is trying to uncover Jay Gatsby’s mysterious past. Except for the hints given in the middle of the book, it seems as though no one knows his story. Jay Gatsby, first introduced as a illusive, wealthy party-thrower during the jazz age, was legally born as James Gatz, a poor boy from a poor family. He wanted to impress a rich, young girl, Daisy, so he created a story he thought would impress her. He told her that he was rich, when he was not. Daisy promised him when he went to fight in World War I that she would wait for him, but instead she married Tom Buchanan. Gatsby then buried himself in lies to make Daisy fall for him. He spent 5 years creating his...

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