dissection of art: great gatsby.

The thought of me trying to write about, the often cited as the epitome of American literature, Great Gatsby is a bit terrifying and burdensome. Luckily I’m only required to write about why I like the book. I could talk about the sheer beauty of Scott Fitzgerald’s writing, the novel’s use of characterization, or even the use language to communicate a still very modern, relevant, and applicable theme.

Behind this wonderful fiction novel is actually this beautifully written historical fiction piece of literature. Fitzgerald uses his writing to not only incorporate an Americanized theme but also pieces of American history. “I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.” Daisy is pointing out a key element that is present in American history. That is how women were inferior, dependent, and unequal to men during this time. She not only identifies it within that society but this quote also stands to almost foreshadow the unfolding of her and Tom’s relationship i.e., how Tom has an affair and Daisy puts up with it despite knowing what’s going on. This shows the historical presence of women inequality within the novel.

“A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air,…” This quote also continues to show the beauty of Fitzgerald’s beautiful historical fiction novel. “New World” is brought up reflecting America which was referred to as the new world. This represents American ideas such as wealth (reflected also in the reference to material). The focus of America is often materialism, not focusing on what is real or what truly matters i.e., love, human interaction, faith, morality, etc. Gatsby is using material/wealth to try and win Daisy but he looses sights of what’s real, love. He in the end gets lost inside his dream. This demonstrates the historical discovery of America subliminally in this novel as well as the presence of American ideals pinpointing the beauty of Fitzgerald’s writing.

Throughout the novel there are several instances where the characters were characterized, largely done by indirect characterization. Gatsby had been characterized  as suave, sophisticated, and debonair while Tom had been characterized as egotistical, male chauvinist, and a cheater. During the novel Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, Nick, and Jordan went out together. Tom begins questioning Gatsby. Eventually the cat is let out of the bag and Gatsby looses his temper. (A scene done very well in the movie) This scene shows a role reversal of Gatsby and Tom. Gatsby turning angry, physical, and slightly less sophisticated while Tom becomes self controlled and caring. This suggests that maybe the characteristics of these two characters were not the totality of who they are.  This novel also characterizes Nick as educated but not charming. Daisy is shown to be beautiful and dainty but yet shallow and flighty. Through means such as indirect characterization the reader is able to identify the characters in this light and develop opinions of them, enchanting their attachment to the novel.

“The Green light” was a symbol often referred to within this novel. It symbolized ambition and hope. It was the structure in which Gatsby built his life around. His hope being that one day he would reach the love of his life again, Daisy. Eventually Gatsby got Daisy but he was still left unsatisfied. Even though she was eager to run away with him he couldn’t take that and walk away with it, she had to say that she never loved her husband, Tom. Through this use of symbolism a theme was thus created. The theme of the American Dream. This idea of get rich or die trying which ended up being the destruction of Gatsby. 

Through all the different elements in the book aside from it’s readability and depth, Fitzgerald’s writing, the characterization, and the theme have made this book something great. Generally I don’t like books I read in school, especially ones that are written in a completely different time long ago but The Great Gatsby is one of the few exceptions. I highly recommend reading the book and watching the movie.

Kayla x

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