How Far Does Fitzgerald Allow Us to Sympathise with Gatsby?

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Democracy is Freedom – The Daisy, The Reader Pages: 6 (2225 words) Published: March 25, 2013
How far does Fitzgerald allow us to sympathise with Gatsby?
Throughout the novel Fitzgerald allows our sympathy to increase as Gatsby’s dream of Daisy falls apart. I will be looking at and analysing the techniques used by Fitzgerald to allow us to sympathise with Gatsby. Even from the very beginning of the book on pg56, the reader begins to sympathise with Gatsby when he is described as isolated in society:

“...with complete isolation the figure of the host, who stood on the porch, his hand up in a formal gesture of farewell.” Nick, the narrator, states that Gatsby stands in “complete isolation” even when surrounded by his extravagant guests. “Isolation” shows that Gatsby is detached from everyone else due to his inability to socialise and the reader begins to realise that he is in fact alone and isolated even though he is so ‘great’. It is also shown on pg51 that Gatsby is completely unattached from anyone:

“ one swooned backward on Gatsby and no French bob touched Gatsby’s shoulder...” The use of two negatives emphasises the fact that Gatsby is unaccompanied, even at his own party. Fitzgerald allows us to sympathise because to the reader it seems as though Gatsby has no romantic interest. In chapter4, pg76, Fitzgerald allows us to sympathise with Gatsby when Jordan relays to Nick Gatsby’s proposal:

“He wants to know... if you’ll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over.” We can sympathise with Gatsby because we can tell that he’s thought about it a lot because “let him come over” shows that he does not want Daisy to see that it has been arranged and he wants it to seem like a coincidence. The reader could also sympathise with him because it could be seen that Gatsby’s so worried and scared to talk to Daisy without reason and he is scared to ask Nick himself to organise the meeting so he has to go through Jordan, who seems to be the only person Gatsby can trust. However, some might argue that he takes the coward’s way out by going through other people to meet Daisy and therefore he should not deserve our sympathy. However, just after Jordan proposed the idea to him, Nick writes: “The modesty of the demand shook me. He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed starlight to casual moths – so that he could ‘come over’ some afternoon to a stranger’s garden.” Because this is written from Nick’s point of view it influences us to mock Gatsby just as Nick is. I believe that Nick likes Gatsby the most out of everybody he meets and so I don’t think he would mock Gatsby and what he was doing unless he truly thought what Gatsby was doing was ridiculous. Due to this, I am inclined to think the same way as Nick that after so much effort Gatsby’s just going to ‘come over’. “Casual moths” shows us that Nick did not think much of Gatsby’s parties or the people who attended them as “moths” is a derogatory term and everyone thinks of them as a nuisance. “Casual” shows that Nick thinks that those who attended the extravagant parties were merely passers-by who had no real meaning or reason for being at the parties, who just used Gatsby for his money. In addition to Gatsby’s isolation he also gets extremely nervous when he finally meets Daisy, pg83:

“Gatsby, pale as death...”
“Pale as death” has implications of illness and nervousness. This helps the reader to picture that Gatsby probably looks physically ill because he is so overwhelmed as though he is suffering due to his extreme love for Daisy, or at least the dream of her. The idea that Gatsby is experiencing such a strong reaction to meeting her is strengthened in the way his eyes are described as “vacant”, as if they were empty and could not see. It is almost as if he is so overcome with love and emotion that he is rendered incapable of doing or seeing anything. Fitzgerald shows the reader how the reality of Daisy compared to his dream is too much for Gatsby to grasp. He states that “Now, in the reaction, he was running down...
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