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The Story Behind The Great Gatsby

2388 words - 10 pages

The Story Behind The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is a novel that eloquently summarizes what the entire American society represents through Fitzgerald’s view. This novel develops its story in New York, at a time when the jazz age was at its peak. The roaring twenties, the era of glamour, infringed prohibition, conflict, growth and prosperity. The main concern in that age was materialism, sex, booze, and entertainment. The American Dream was the idea that anything, especially success, was possible through hard work and determination no matter where the individual comes from. On the other hand, in Fitzgerald’s perspective, he was aware of the falsity of the values in the American society; and also he was aware of the importance of honesty and sincerity. The argument is poetically obvious, through his novel Fitzgerald shows us that reality will always end by demolishing any idealism; because the American dream is untouchable, intangible, a hoax, a fraud, and a lie that only leads to the destruction of those who believe in a single dream for too long.
Since the beginning of the novel, Fitzgerald attempted to set the tone and point of view from which the story is going to be told. “IN MY YOUNGER and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had” (Fitzgerald 1). In this quote, the language that Fitzgerald is implying serves to persuade the audience in trusting every word the narrator, Nick Carraway, is going to tell. As the novel progresses, the reader encounters that Nick is an observer, but above all, he is decoding, adjusting himself, and most importantly involving himself within the story and the characters. Carraway is an expert in getting along with all the characters in the novel, but according to Kent Cartwright, “The problems with Nick as narrator are similar to the problems with Nick as moral center. The personal characteristics that have caused readers to distrust his moral vision are connected to the qualities that invite the reader's distrust for the accuracy of some narrative judgments” (229). Although Carraway stated multiple times through the novel that he has lived according to his father’s advice, this phrase is itself a lie because technically Carraway criticizes everybody throughout the novel. Consequently, this arises from the beginning a continuing dilemma of the old theme: to be and to appear. However, Nick’s subjective assessment is brilliant, because the novel involves a series of oppositions between those seeking to safeguard their point of view, return it neutral, and the character who becomes drawn into that world.
On the other hand, it is time to look at Gatsby, the character that has the given entitlement of “great”. Gatsby, the idealist man with incorruptible dreams, the enthusiast...

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