Great Gatsby Essay 2

1927 words - 8 pages

"The value of reading a text closely is that you can see what the writer is doing- how he or she has used structure or setting or characters or a particular point of view or some aspect of language to direct the reader's response." Show how the writer has used one or more of these to direct your response in The Great Gatsby.In the novel The Great GatsbyF. Scott Fitzgerald shows a clear contempt of the American Dream, an ideal that the characters that he has created either chase or have achieved. Through his excellent writing technique, Fitzgerald reduces the characters of the novel to seeming obsessed with material possessions, petty, superficial and selfish, and indeed he seems to attribute much of this to the setting of the novel, America in the 1920's. Through both subtle hints within the plot, as well as passages that blatantly support Fitzgerald's own views, the reader is left only to agree with Fitzgerald's feelings towards post war upper class Americans after concluding the novel.The main characters in The Great Gatsby all have very different personalities. Despite this however, all of the characters are affected by money, and Fitzgerald uses this fact to influence the response of the reader. Some characters, like Gatsby and Tom Buchanan, have money, and are very expressive with it. Examples of this are Gatsby's expensive Rolls Royce and Tom's polo horses that he flew in from Chicago. Nick mentions that everybody had seen Gatsby's car (pg 63), pointing to the fact that Gatsby flaunted the vehicle and by association his wealth, and Tom flying in polo horses from another city would obviously be outrageously expensive. Other characters, such as Myrtle, lust for money. Essentially being of the middle class, Myrtle's attraction to Tom is not one based on love and affection. Rather, Tom represents something that Myrtle has never had- endless wealth- and with this Myrtle correlates happiness. The lust for and obtrusive use of money by the characters is an obvious central theme throughout the novel, but as the text draws to a close Fitzgerald emphasises that money cannot govern human emotions. Gatsby's money fails to entice Daisy away from her husband, and the death of Myrtle is an event that cannot be erased by any amount of money on Tom's part. More then anything, the ending of the novel reinforces to the reader that money is a superficial desire and that, inevitably, it cannot be responsible for bringing happiness or the fulfillment of a dream.Through the course of the novel we see the characters that Fitzgerald has created continually act in a superficial way. Tom Buchanan is an excellent example of a trivial and superficial man. He displays this in the first chapter of the novel, with the comments he makes about the threat to white supremacy. To further emphasis his superficial nature, Fitzgerald uses irony later in the novel, when Tom insists that he has "almost a second sight sometimes" (pg 116), a fact that is so obviously incorrect that...

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