Why Is Gatsby Memorable to the Reader: Romantic Modernism

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The Great Gatsby was first published in 1925 and was one of Fitzgerald’s most well-known novels. Many aspects of this book caused this mass popularity, however the main reasons are his use of romantic modernism and most importantly, his portrayal of the different character. The different portrayals of the characters across Long island manipulate the reader’s opinion. One of the most famous examples for this is Gatsby. Gatsby is a very memorable character for many different reasons, such as the portrayal of him by Nick, his mannerisms, his reactions and doings. Each of these reasons helps him become memorable, however another important aspect of this memorability is the effects the Fitzgerald uses, romantic modernism, imagery, atmosphere, descriptions. One reason why Gatsby is memorable to the reader is because of Gatsby’s role as an exception in Nick’s, the narrator of this story, newly formed opinion on the people in Long Island. While Nick has a strong negative reaction to his experiences in New York and eventually returns to the Midwest in search of a less morally ambiguous environment, even during his initial phase of disgust, Gatsby stands out for him as an exception. Nick admires Gatsby highly, despite the fact that Gatsby represents everything Nick scorns about New York as he merges n with the crowd of West Egg, ostentation, garishness and flashy mannerisms, Gatsby clearly poses a challenge to Nick’s customary ways of thinking about the world, and Nick’s struggle to come to terms with that challenge inflects everything in the novel. One example of this is; ‘ “I wouldn’t ask too much of her,” I ventured. “You can’t repeat the past.” “Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!” ‘ This quote shows us how motivated and dedicated Gatsby is to relive the past, with his ‘lover’ Daisy. His undying, untameable passion for her is constantly emphasised throughout the book. However, the most unusual feature of this affair, in comparison to the other various affairs of characters is that Gatsby wants to relive the past. Although his ideas and morals highlight everything that Nick’s contradict, he still always has a sense of dedication towards Gatsby, such as being the only person at Gatsby’s funeral. Nick’s attitudes toward Gatsby and Gatsby’s story are ambivalent and contradictory. At times he seems to disapprove of Gatsby’s excesses and breaches of manners and ethics, but he also romanticizes and admires Gatsby, describing the events of the novel in a nostalgic and elegiac tone. This opinion formed by the narrator of this story now means that Gatsby is more memorable because of the sometimes contradictory opinions on his character but also because of the narrator’s reaction to Gatsby.

A second reason why Gatsby is memorable to the readers is because of the use of mystery and withheld information throughout the beginning aspects of the book. This mystery is initially triggered when the readers first see Gatsby. ‘He gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone — he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward — and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness’ In this extract Gatsby is initially portrayed as a very mysterious and enigmatic character and interestingly stands in stark contrast to the other denizens of West Egg. Although Nick is unsure of this green light’s origin or even what significance it represents for Gatsby, the inner yearning which is visible to Nick, mainly because of Gatsby’s posture and emotional surrender to this green light makes him seem the opposite of the previous surrounding, the sarcastic Ivy League set at the Buchanans’. Gatsby is a...
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