The Great Gatsby

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Taylor Tipping
Critical Essay

“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a novel in which the setting in time and place is a significant feature. In this essay I will show how the writer’s use of setting contributes to my understanding of character and theme.

The novel begins with Nick Carraway. He is the narrator if this novel who is from a middle class background. Throughout the novel we make judgements from Nick’s perspective and form an opinion from his point of view. The next characters we are introduced to are Nick’s second cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan. We learn that these two characters are from an upper middle class background, however from their morals and decisions you would assume differently. Nick is portrayed to be an honest and genuine character in the novel, far different from Tom and Daisy Buchanan. At the beginning of the novel hints were given about disputes and underlying problems between Tom and Daisy, we then discover that Tom is having an affair with his car salesman’s wife Myrtle Wilson from the poor Valley of Ashes. When the character Gatsby is finally introduced we find out that previous speculations were not true. We discover that Gatsby and Daisy have a history together; we find out that they were both in love with each other before Gatsby was shipped off to the war. Since then, Gatsby has spent the last 5 years trying to win back Daisy’s love and acceptance by organising parties in hope that she would saunter in and that they both would rekindle their relationship. Before all the elaborate parties there was a poor, young James Gatz whom created this persona of “Gatsby.” He has spent most of his life living up to this idea and for him, appearances are everything.

Two significant features in this novel are social class and the American Dream. Tom and Daisy Buchanan both live in East Egg; this particular place is inhabited by “old money”, the more sophisticated upper class. The reader would expect the inhabitants...
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