Nick’s View That Gatsby Essay


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How far do you agree with Nick’s view that Gatsby is “worth the whole damn bunch put together”? The title character of The Great Gatsby is a young man, around thirty years old, who rose from an impoverished childhood in rural North Dakota to become fabulously wealthy. Indeed, Gatsby has become famous around New York for the elaborate parties held every weekend at his mansion, ostentatious spectacles to which people long to be invited. And yet, Nick Carraway’s description of the protagonist asserts that Gatsby seems curiously out of place among the ‘whole damn bunch’ which inhabit this lavish, showy world. Indeed, despite the aura of criminality surrounding his occupation, his love and loyalty to Daisy Buchanan and ultimately his capacity to dream, set him apart from the inhabitants of East Egg and West Egg.


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Moreover, Fitzgerald’s use of scene and place, his library specifically, alludes to the idea that he is not genuine. Owl-Eyes, one of his invited guests, is surprised that the millionaire’s books are ‘absolutely real – have pages and everything’, rather than being made out of ‘nice durable cardboard.’ This reaction implies a belief that so much about him is fake. Even when he realises its authenticity, Owl-Eyes compares him to ‘a regular Belasco’, a Broadway producer known for the realism of his sets. Thus, though he is putting on act, this theatrical persona which he has mastered is still a very convincing act. Indeed, The novel’s title itself – ‘The Great Gatsby’ – is suggestive of the sort of vaudeville billing for a performer or magician like ‘The Great Houdini’, again subtly emphasising the showy and perhaps illusory quality of Gatsby’s life.


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In the same way, Gatsby’s own audacity and nobility of spirit to dream of creating a radically different future for himself, to dream of a life with Daisy, never let up. This is why one can agree with Nick’s viewpoint to a great extent. Even though his dream ends in failure – because his methods are criminal, because he can never gain acceptance into the American aristocracy, and because his new identity is largely a theatrical act – his deep-rooted ambition, his loyalty to Daisy and, uniting the two together, the strength of his capacity to dream, are what set him above the members of West Egg and East Egg. Gatsby is a visionary. This is why he is “worth the whole damn bunch put together”.


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