To Find the Greatness in Gatsby

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Analysis

The novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald tells the story of Jay Gatsby, as Nick Carraway perceives him. Nick has a special place in this story. He is not just one character among several; it is through his eyes and ears that the story takes place. In this novel, Nick goes to some length to establish his credibility in telling about this “great” man called Gatsby.

For example, “He has one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced, or seemed to face, the whole eternal world for an instant.” (Fitzgerald 48) This is part of Nick’s close examination of Gatsby’s character and appearance. This description of Gatsby’s smile shows both the quality of Gatsby’s character and his charisma. Also, it shows the appearance in which Gatsby appears to the outside world. Nick perceives Gatsby as mysterious and for this attractive reason, Nick is drawn to Gatsby’s flashy parties. Initially, Fitzgerald represents Gatsby as the host of the unbelievably parties thrown every week at his mansion. He appears surrounded by luxury and wealth, courted by powerful men and beautiful women. He is the subject of gossips throughout New York and is a kind mysterious celebrity before he is ever introduced formally to Nick.

In addition, “I am the son of some wealthy people in the middle-west - all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated in Oxford.” (Fitzgerald 63) Though at first mysterious, Gatsby intentions and motives and even his life are revealed as the novel unfolds. Gatsby has literally created his own character, even changing his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby to represent himself. As his quest for Daisy demonstrates, Gatsby has an extraordinary ability to transform his hopes and dreams into reality; at the beginning of the novel, he appears to the reader just as he desires to appear to the world. This talent of creating himself is what gives Gatsby his quality of...
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