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Great Gatsby : Character analysis

By margot24 Jan 11, 2014 1207 Words
Character analysis
Daisy Buchanan
Daisy is a beautiful young woman originally from Louisville, Kentucky. At first we know her as Nick’s cousin and later on find out she’s the object of Gatsby, his determination in getting wealthy just to impress her. Fitzgerald presents her as the ‘American Dream’, who for the matter of fact Myrtle is extremely envious of and is always desperately trying to climb that social scale, by having an intimate relationship with her husband Tom Buchanan. She is portrayed as; charming, shallow, bored and also cynical. Nick characterises her as a careless person, who hides behind this infantine personality ~~and retreats behind her money. We see a different side of Daisy in Chapter 7, by choosing Nick over Tom ~~, then allows Gatsby to take the blame for killing Myrtle even though she herself was driving the car. Finally, rather than attend Gatsby’s funeral, Daisy and Tom move away. She is represented as an extremely selfish character towards the end of the novel, she is capable of affection. She seems genuinely found of Nick and occasionally seems to love Gatsby sincerely. Daisy in in love with her money, ease and material luxury. Daisy is indifferent even to her own infant daughter ~~, never discussing her and treating her as an afterthought when she is introduced in Chapter 7. In Fitzgerald’s conception of America in the 1920’s, Daisy represents the amoral values of the upper-class East Egg. Although she loves the attention, she has considerations other than love on her mind. First, she knows full well Tom has had affairs for years. This could motivate her to get back at him by having an affair of her own. Daisy's response to Gatsby's wealth, especially the shirts, typically someone in love doesn’t break into tears upon being shown an assortment of shirts. The shirts represent wealth and means. When Daisy bows her head and sobs into the shirts, she is displaying her interest in materialism. She doesn't cry because she has been reunited with Gatsby, she cries because of the pure satisfaction all his material wealth brings her. He has become a fitting way in which to get back at Tom. When Tom and Gatsby have their altercation at the hotel in Chapter 7, Daisy's motivations are called into question: Her inability to deny having loved Tom speaks well for her, but at the same time, it suggests that her attachment to Gatsby has been purely business. Tom also knows that after Daisy realizes Gatsby is not of their same social circles, she will return to Tom for the comfort and protection that his money and power bring.

Nick Carraway
As he tells the reader in Chapter 1, he is tolerant, open minded, quiet, and a good listener, and, as a result, others tend to talk to him and tell their secrets. Gatsby in particular, comes to trust him and treat him in confidant. Nick generally assumes a secondary role throughout the novel, preferring to describe and comment on events rather than dominate the action. He lives in the West Egg, next door to Gatsby. Nick is also Daisy’s cousin, which enables him to observe and assist the resurgent love affair between Daisy and Gatsby. As a result of his relationship to these two characters, Nick is the perfect choice to narrate the novel, which functions as a personal memoir of his experience with Gatsby in the summer of 1922. As a reader you tend to question Nick’s validity at times, due to his never ending admiration to Gatsby and also to the fact that he’s talking for past events, memories, he could be over-exaggerating situations. What helps make Nick so remarkable, however, is the way that he has aspirations without being taken in — to move with the socialites, for example, but not allowing himself to become blinded by the ultimate glitz that characterizes their lifestyle, the whole ‘American Dream’ persona. When he realizes what his social superiors are really truly shallow, hollow and uncaring, he is disgusted. Nick has what many of the other characters lack ‘personal integrity’ and his sense of right and wrong helps to elevate him above the others. Nick's moral sense helps to set him apart from all the other characters. From the first time he interacts with others; Daisy, Tom, and Jordan in Chapter 1, he clearly isn't like them. He alone is repulsed by the phony nature of the socialites. He alone is moved by Gatsby's death. When the other characters scatter to the wind after Gatsby's death, Nick, unable to believe that none of Gatsby's associates will even pay their last respects, picks up the pieces and ensures Gatsby isn't alone in his death. Through the course of The Great Gatsby Nick grows, from a man dreaming of fortune, to a man who truly understands the perks and misery a fortune can bring.

Gatsby
Gatsby comes to the East Coast and makes fortune in bootlegging and other questionable business activities due to the help of characters such as Meyer Wolfsheim. He buys an incredible mansion on West Egg, in order to be directly across the bay from Daisy Buchanan. He gives his throws extravagant parties and drives flashy automobiles in hopes of attracting Daisy’s attention. She has become his reason for being- his ultimate ‘holy grail’. Gatsby never loses sight of his dream and often reaches out to the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. Everything he does, every purchase he makes, every party he throws, is all part of his grand scheme to bring Daisy back into his life for good. In one sense, this is a lovely romantic gesture, but in another sense, it perpetuates a childish illusion. By being so focused on his dream of Daisy, Gatsby moves further and further into a fantasy world. His inability to deal with reality sets him outside the norm and, eventually, his holding on to the dream leads to his death. By the end of Chapter 7, Gatsby is standing guard outside of Daisy's house on a needless vigil. He is completely unable to realize that his dream is not a reality and so stands watching for a sign from Daisy. He sees what he is doing as noble, honourable, and purposeful. The reader, however, sees the futility of his task as he becomes a parody of his former self. Gatsby is, quite literally, fatally idealistic. He can't wait to distance himself from his past in terms of his family, but yet he lives his adult life trying to recapture the past he had with Daisy. What makes matters worse, too, is that he is in love with the idea of Daisy, not Daisy as she herself is.

Gatsby's money did not come from inheritance, as he would like people to believe, but from organized crime. The story takes place during the time of prohibition and Gatsby has profited greatly from selling liquor illegally. In addition, while people come to Gatsby's parties in droves, he really knows very little about them. In fact, he doesn't want to know much about them, just whether they know Daisy. Finally, Gatsby's friendship with Nick really begins to blossom only after he finds out that Nick is Daisy's cousin.

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