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Fitzgerald's Great Deception: The Unexpected Hero

1375 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. Fitzgerald uses 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 ...view middle of the document...

Not only does the audience discover they have been deceived by Gatsby, but they have been deceived by Fitzgerald himself in using the title, The Great Gatsby.
Throughout the entire book the reader is trying to uncover Jay Gatsby’s mysterious past. , Except for the hints given throughout the middle of the book, it seems as though no one knows his story. Jay Gatsby 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 the war 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 own life of lies and making money through corrupt ways. Deceit was weaved through the entire plot of The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald made a point to have some hint of deceit in every single chapter. Whether it was Tom cheating on Daisy with Myrtle Wilson, or Daisy going back on her word to Gatsby, there is deceit everywhere. Fitzgerald chose to have the theme of deception woven throughout the entire book for a reason. Fitzgerald chose to deceive the audience by calling Gatsby great in the title, only to uncover that “Gatsby” was fake. Perhaps Fitzgerald wanted to show his reader the corruption that so often accompanies wealth and the pursuit of “happiness.” As Nick Carraway said, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…” (pp. 179)
Having Nick as a narrator lead to the understanding of the theme of deceit and the discovery of the true hero. Having the story told in first person point of view was not necessary, but Fitzgerald chose to do so because he wanted there to be a person in the story who was not corrupt, not dishonest. He wanted the story to be told in truth, which is why he did not choose Gatsby or Daisy to narrate. Nick was able to tell the story in a way that no one else could, without any bias. Nick says, “Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known.” (pp. 59) Fitzgerald chose to show the reader that we can trust Nick, that what he has to say is worth listening to. Throughout the book the reader is able to read Nick’s thoughts about Gatsby. The reader is shown that Gatsby picked his words very carefully as though he had been practicing what was going to be said in that event. It is through...

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