Wednesday, May 22, 2019
The Great Gatsby: “It is Nick who makes Jay Gatsby into The Great Gatsby”
The ambiguous greatness of Jay Gatsby is imparted to the reader through with(predicate) the thoughts and observations of gouge Carraway, a causa who is personally involved in the heterogeneous events and kindreds featured in the plot. He is therefore an excellent choice of narrator as this participatory role offices him beside the great namesake of the book, which is essentially how he appears to portray the inflated, materialistic and just naive character of Jay Gatsby.In using dent as such a device, Fitzgerald presents an insight into Gatsby which is bit by bit developed from ambiguity to perplexity as he refines Nicks perception throughout the riotous excursion- as Nick metaphorically describes the action of the novel and establishes his often negative outlook on the selfishness, greed and moral depravity of American community. Nick is conveniently able to acquire this personal knowledge of Gatsby through his approachability, causing other characters to confide in h im through his inclination to admit judgement.However, his negative judgement of party (from which Gatsby is exempt) ironically contradicts his initial claim to impartiality, and Nick continues to judge people thereafter. This reveals his viewpoint to be increasingly subjective and lends his character the virtues of being realistic, thus possessing human failings which evoke a more complete persona, and not merely a mouthpiece for Fitzgeralds thoughts.However, covertly, he also communicates the authors condemnation of 20s golf club as his own, since Fitzgerald has incorporated such judgements into his personality, creating the whoremaster of an impartial narrator while pursuing his satirical condemnation of the Jazz Age and his apparent admiration of the idealism implicit in the American Dream (represented by Gatsbys impossible optimism). Indeed, Fitzgeralds use of this intelligent but sympathetic observer at the centre of events makes for some of the or so priceless values in fiction (William Troy, 1945).The values of economy and intensity are achieved by his central role in events, while suspense is achieved through Nicks personal flaw of not fully perceiving Gatsbys character, causing disclosures near Gatsbys past and present to be frequent and striking. We think particularly of how Gatsby came alive to Nick in Chapter 4 through Jordans reminiscing, and of how, in Chapter 9, revelations are still made after his death (such as the schedule brought to Nicks attention by Gatsbys father) which consolidate Nicks respect for his drawn-out ambition.Nicks perception of Gatsby is limited in certain aspects as the latter is an ambiguous character, though this incomplete knowledge does not deter Nicks positive view, which develops from not erudite Gatsby at all to admiring him for his strangely noble, if delusory, stargaze. Gatsbys ambiguity simply fuels fascination in Nick, who uses the adulatory adjective gorgeous to describe him, and proceeds in his narr ative to undertake the reason for this attraction in the mystery of Gatsby.The apparent bias presented in Nicks narration may also be ascribable to many connections matte with Gatsby as a result of similarities amongst some(prenominal) their characters and Fitzgerald himself many of Gatsbys characteristics are often Fitzgeralds own, incorporated into his character alongside Nicks. Just as the author had fought in the war, so have his characters, a fact which had taken Daisy away from Gatsby and excitement away from Nicks life as he came back restless. They both seek to repossess these things, Nick by coming East and Gatsby by reacquiring Daisys love.Nick empathizes with Gatsbys longing, and here perhaps Fitzgerald incorporates his own experience of losing the affections of his first love, Ginevra King, this failure in achieving his own stargaze revealing bias in the author himself. This may be the reason for the author positing that Gatsby is great while also impressing his n egative opinion on the causes of both his and Gatsbys failure in this case parliamentary procedure, and the class differences which precluded Fitzgeralds relationship with the wealthier King.In the wider context of social satire, this tell between dreams and failure is analogous to the rich and poor within American society, and is portrayed through the rather obvious symbolism of the Valley of Ashes whose uncomfortable proximity to the higher class Eggs foregrounds the vast disparity between rich and poor in the Roaring Twenties. Initially Nick only perceives the visible side of Gatsby his material possessions and his parties where guests came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars in Chapter 3.He describes the parties as dreamlike, perhaps reflecting Gatsbys outlook on life, and tempting, as wealth was in 1920s America. Fitzgeralds simile of the guests being insect-like expresses Nicks observation of the superficial materialism and immoralit y of American society (emphasized in the former quotation by the sibilance of whisperings), as they are only tempted by Gatsbys wealth, drawn like moths to his light, while making Gatsby seem somehow stimulate and superior to them as they revolve around himIn direct contrast to such shallowness, Fitzgerald reveals Nicks admiration for Gatsbys romantic readiness, and his infinite hope in his idealistic love of Daisy, to further build the great element of Gatsbys personality as it is discovered. This aspect of Gatsby, when introduced, also makes him more real (EK 1925) and empathetic, than American society of the time, as his dream is revealed to be for love, not material status.These poetic descriptions, though also employ in order to persuade us that Gatsby is a man of poetic predisposition, do not imply that Fitzgerald takes the dangerous, no-hands course of simply saying so as Kenneth Tynan (1974) states. In fact, Nicks positive opinions of Gatsby are developed very subtly and implied throughout events in the plot. These gradually build the impression of Gatsbys imaginative and beautiful sensibility, such as Nicks discovery of his idealism regarding Daisys love.At times, such usages of poetic narrative depictions contrast sharply with the dull, bare portrayal of the poorer sections of society. To this end, light is used by Nick in positive descriptions throughout the novel, his own and Fitzgeralds fascination with modern developments of his time intercommunicate through Nicks observant and admiring documentation of places lit by electric lighting, such as Gatsbys house which was blazing with light, and the important symbol of Gatsbys hope for Daisys love the symbolical green light at the end of Daisys dock, at long last described, with pity, as an illusion. Light is thus used in a symbol of both Nicks admiration felt at Gatsbys hope, and his sympathy as it is for an immaterial romantic goal (love), which disregards Gatsbys material prominence. Nick als o favourably compares Gatsby to a seismograph an intricate device driven by unknown/seen forces which mirrors Nicks own impression of him.This analogy is not merely an apt symbol for the human sensibility in a mechanized age (Edwin S. Fussell 1952), exhibit Nicks focus on material developments it is also clearly used to accentuate his opinions on how admirable Gatsbys heightened sensibility is. Nicks use of such comparisons also suggests the ambiguity in his softening of Gatsby. Nick only makes us aware of Gatsbys personality in strategically placed narrative elements. These staged revelations, though revealing aspects of Gatsby that hint at criminality (like his activities in Chicago and various other rumours) simultaneously emphasize his admirable qualities such as his prizing of Daisys love. Indeed, Nicks narration increasingly overlooks Gatsbys flaws, both his and Fitzgeralds views increasingly vividness the tale and casting Gatsbys dream in a positive light.By creating this e mpathy with Gatsby, Fitzgerald effectively communicates the intense disappointment felt at the intrusion of reality on idealism in the final chapters of the novel, and sympathy for the failure of Gatsbys dream is invoked. Clearly, though Maxwell E Perkins (1924) feels that Gatsbys ambiguity is mistaken as it makes his character more nebulous, Fitzgerald actually uses this as a main method of drawing the reader into a prominent theme of illusion, the ultimate illusion being love itself.The mysteriousness of Gatsby is also used to enable Nicks growth in moral perception (Troy 1945) which Troy describes as a necessity in such a narrator Nick gradually perceives Gatsbys moral side- his innate purity, and societys lack of this in comparison, subsequently favouring Gatsby and giving some credibility to EKs evaluation of Gatsby being more real than the other characters due to the paradoxically pure nature of his dream.In this respect, Chapter 4 is used to further Nicks, and the readers, p ositive perception of Gatsby. It features Jordan recounting a romantic memory of Daisys former relationship with Gatsby, Fitzgerald effectively digressing from Nicks narration in order to impart a very deliberate and important revelation from Gatsbys past. It is this relationship which Gatsby seeks to reclaim by meat of his wealth, and is the posterior of the romantic readiness admired in him by Nick.Nick subsequently colours his narrative with the new awareness and says that Gatsby came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his nonmeaningful splendor. With this metaphor of a birth, Fitzgerald makes a clear effort to separate Gatsbys huge vitality from the purposeless splendour of materialism, and, by extension, of American society, which he condemns through Nicks judgement of it.In Chapter 6 Fitzgerald again manipulates narrative structure in Nicks tale of Gatsbys origins, as at this stage in the plots chronology Nick is not flush toilet to this information- it was i mparted by Gatsby himself very much later in the novel, and is presented achronologically to renew readers faith in Gatsby before it is severely challenged in chapter 8, with the idea of exploding those first wild rumors near his antecedence.Fitzgerald reveals a specific part of Gatsbys background through Nicks narration, selected to instill sympathy for Gatsby in the reader by describing his younger selfs (Gatzs) upward struggle from poverty, and the authors admiration for the idealistic dreams that had spurred him to create a universe of ineffable gaudiness that he elaborated nightly until wedding these visions to Daisys breath.This metaphor reveals the uniting of Gatsbys original ambitions with a dream of love, and is also used to invoke sympathy for the extent to which his dreams are ultimately and perhaps tragically revealed to have gone beyond her, beyond everything. This revelation of Gatsbys childlike notion of beauty and grace (Maxwell Geismar 1947) is illustrated by this analeptic episode, strongly suggesting Gatsbys ultimate innocence and pure dreams beneath his materialistic exteriorFitzgerald presents the social context of the novel through the transformation of the American Dream in the 20s the new generation of Americans were dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of achievement, as Fitzgerald himself had stated at the time. Societys material methods of gaining this success are portrayed negatively through Nicks condemnation of the Dream, as Nick has established himself as valuing morals and hard work highly his family had become prominent through ownership of a wholesale hardware business, while Fitzgeralds own childhood took place in a farming, working environment.Similarly, the values admired in Gatzs willingness and determination to work for and succeed in gaining his dreams are symbolically those lost values of society that had appealed to Fitzgerald, and would appeal to Nicks sensibilities, which is why Nick still portrays Gatsby as being great in contrast to Jazz Age society which seeks goals through material means rather than hard work. This is paradoxically true in spite of Gatsbys own materialism, because the latter is portrayed as unimportant to Gatsby beside his love for Daisy.Through Nicks narrative, then, Gatsby is presented as embodying the sure-enough(a) work ethic of a meritocracy but also its transformation to materialism, and ultimately the unattainable goals of the American Dream, this factor essentially providing the grounds for seeing Gatsby as a tragic hero. His idealistic dreams as Gatz are implied to be incommunicable for ever, as they are, in fact, wed to Daisys breath which is just as perishable as his money.In Chapter 7, Toms revelations about Gatsbys criminal bootlegging cause the brittle faiade of Jay Gatsby to be broken up like glass against Toms hard malice, this simile depicting Nicks dislike of the vindictive Tom and of the superficiality of the American D ream, but also, crucially, the way Gatsbys dreams have been demolished due to his reliance upon material power as the single method of agreeable his searching and inarticulate spirit (Maxwell Geismar 1947).Gatsby is thus left watching over nothing, this nihilistic phrase ending the chapter and corroborating the sympathy felt by Nick at the hopelessness of Gatsbys dead dream, making Nick not want to leave him. With his death in Chapter 8, this sympathy might indeed render Gatsby not merely great, but genuinely tragic. Thus as readers, we feel ultimately that Nicks (or Fitzgeralds) message is that the colossal vitality of Gatsbys illusion is curtailed by the faults of society and that Gatsby himself, by contrast, is greater than his social milieu.Gatsbys is the tragedy of a romanticist in a materialist society (Kuehl, 1959), his immaterial dreams inevitably perishing in the face of society, the hopelessness that its glamorous exterior encloses, communicated throughout the novel both by the satire of the parties, the obvious symbolic qualities of the Valley of Ashes, the similarly tragic George Wilson, and the doomed Myrtle.Clearly, though John McCormick (1971) regards Daisy as the agent of Gatsbys downfall, just as she had been the agent of his rise, the apparent cause of Gatsbys failure went beyond her, being the vital illusion created by society which had surpassed Daisy she had only been the point of departure for his ideals. The authors message is ultimately a poignant one of hope being obscured by failure, communicating both Fitzgeralds admiration of such dreams, and contempt of the reality which smothers them.In this sense, Nicks voice in the novel is undeniably Fitzgeralds. Having said this, Nick is rendered sufficiently autonomous to be a convincing narrator in his own right, as Gatsby finally also receives sympathy due to tangible affinities formed with him, such as that of disillusionment, which Nick empathizes with as he has been a victim of his own illusion regarding the true nature of Daisy and Jordan, and Gatsbys character itself.A growth in moral perception (when applied to Nick) is the tale of the novel (Troy, 1945) as it is this which ensures Nicks positive portrayal of Gatsby Nick comes to discover his true history and admired ambition as Gatz, as well as the ultimate tragedy of his still believing, in the face of such adversity as his dead dream. This moving naivety clearly proves, however, that in Gatsbys case any growth in moral perception does not gain even though Daisy has clearly returned to Toms alluring wealth in Chapter 8, Gatsby innocently, and dumbly, states, I suppose Daisyll call, too, not perceiving the immorality of the age he lives in. As Kuehl (1959) says, it is illusion, and not its offspring which is the centre of Gatsbys character he is a dreamer despite his material status, and his heightened goals will never be materialized, making them pale in comparison to the cover aspirations of society and c ontradicting E. Ks evaluation Gatsby is not precisely more real than society, but he is greater in many ways, as both Nick and Fitzgerald successfully portray him at the close of the novel the noble dreams that inspire Nicks admiration within Gatsby are only unattainable due to denounced external factors, and therefore ultimately do not subtract from Gatsbys tragically great portrayal.