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Characters in The Great Gatsby

Evalutes all the major characters of the text.

Characters are an important part of any novel. As a genre, the novel is long enough to develop characters, and to have quite a few of the them as well. For this reason, most good novels have life-like, well developed characters.

Thge author of the nbovel can postition is to like or dislike certain characters. An example of this is The Great Gatsby, a novel by F Scott Fitzgerald. Written in the 1920?s, the book is veyr much an example of the Jazz Age. A recent informal survey had a hiugh rate of people liking and disliking certqain characters. The authopr can position the reader through narrative perspective, dialogue, actions, sypathies and style.

Teh Great Gatsby can be said to be a love story. The narrator, Nick Carrway, moves east where he is cuaght up in the dealinshgs of those aroung him. His neighbour, Jay Gatsby, is trying to win the heart of Daisy, whop is married to Nick?s college friend, Tom Buchanan, who is having an affair with Nyrtle Wilson, the wife of a gas station attendant.

Narrative perspective plays a very big role in a novel like The Great Gatsby, becuase the whole affair is seen thorugh one person?s eyes, Nick Carrway. Whathver Nick did not see or not heasr may be distorted, and we may miss out some details altogether. For instance, at the apartment Tom and Myrtle go to in New York, he is drunk, and so we may miss some detail about the characters and actions there. This also holds true for some oter instances, such as parties, where he may also be slightly inebriated.

Because we are viewing people wioth Niock?s eyes, we will tend to like who he likes and to dislike who he dislikes. The would not be a problem if we could believe one of his earlier statementsn that ?I?m inclined to rerserve all judgements.? and ?I am one of the few totally honest people Im know.? Later in the novel Nick turns out to be very judgemental and partiial. FOr instance, Nick overlooks the moral implications of Gatsby?s bootlegging and shady dealings but he comes down rather harshly on Jordan Baker for cheating in am mere golf game. With Nick we like Gtasby but critisize Jordan, Nick seems to extend a level of friendship and tolerance towards Gatsby that he is unprepeared to extend to anyone else.

Dialogue also positions a reader. People say various things about others in the course of the novel, and thus we judge them. We can also judge people by what they say about the evemnts taking place. For example, Fatsby?s smile is described as ?one of those rare smailes with a quality of eternal reassurance in it.? Tom Buchanan gets some bad commenys from Daisy: ?That?s what I get for marrying a brute of a man.?

Tom is a good example of dialogue placing the reader. Readers tend to dislike Tom. In the early pages of the novel Tom is discussing a books which would be considered rascist by today?s standards: Rise of the COloured Empir. He says, ?the white race will be... utterly submerged. It?s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out, or these other races will have control of thintgs.? In the 1920?s this attitude may well have been standard practice among their class, but we, viewing it from the 21st century, are apalled. Tom seems to do a lo5t to make the reader dislike him. He has an affair with Myrtle, and tries to justify it by sayiong ?It does her good to get away.? When Gatsby suggests that Daisy leave Tom, its ?Nowadays people keep sneering at family liofe and family institutions. ? enen thiough he, too, is quilty of this. TOm is very violent as well, as Nick natrrates to us: ?Making a short, deft, mopvement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand..?

Actions play a part in postitioning a readser along with dialogue. Because the novewl is in first person view, most action may be classified as Nick?s monologue as well, his recount of events. A characters acxtions also play the part of forming their style. We read this book, and part iof our liking or disliking characters is how well they shape up to our morals. This may change, hoever, from character top character. We may didslike Tom because he uis trying to syteal someone?s wife, but we overlook Gastby?s actions of the same thning.

Sympathies change how we fele about characters in the novel. Think of porr Wilson. ?he really love her, you know. He afdores his wife, but Tom has styolen her from him for his pleasure. Wiolson has had a hard life, opuymping gas for years in the worst place to live. In retrun for all of the affection he lashes upon Myrtle, she leaves him. Thius causes the reader to fell sorry and sympathise woith him.

We alaso sympaythise with Gatsby. He cannot marry his girl, he is too poor and also must go off to fight in the war. When he comes back, he saimngle-mindedly cxarries out his Quest to win her back. In Gatsby?s case we ignore the means., but we sympathise with him for the terrible end that comes. It?s sad too, that Daisy will never love him for his own sake.

Sympathy and opion also connect to the style of the character, which is an important part of positiioning a reader. Gatsby?s style is to be cool, calm, and efficient, and to pursue his goal. He is one of those types who is never phased by anything. He is always there with his ?Old sport? attitude which just adds to the reader?s admiration fgor him.

WIlson?s style is very different from Gatsby. Wilson is quiet, and ahgreeing, buut always subservient. His whole life is no0t very good, but to make things worse, he is dominated by his ,monster of a wife, Myrtle. It is only whne his wife Myrtle is killed that his style changes. He puts on a rare face of action to go out and take revenge.

An author csan psotiion readers to like or dislike a character inm many ways, and by doing it, increases the enjoyment of the novel. F Scott Fitzgerald has increased the tension and the realism of the novel by making us dislike the antagonists ands like the protagonists. By doijhg this, we casn see the author?s intentions more completely.

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