”The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

...Start of the ”The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald ...

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s main innovation was to introduce a first person narrator and protagonist whose consciousness filters the story’s events. This device was not a total invention since a character through whose eyes and mind the central protagonist is discovered is to be found in two of Conrad’s books : Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim. As usual with this device, the main protagonist remains strange and shady. This technique reinforces the mystery of the characters. The second advantage is that the mediation of a character-witness permits a play between the real and the imaginary. This indirect approach is inherited from Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hence, it is difficult to distinguish between true representation and fantasizing. For Emerson, vision was more important than the real world.

...Middle of the ”The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald ...

Nick is a self-conscious narrator ; he is aware of the difficulties of writing a report that would approach the truth. He uses his critical judgement to form an opinion not only on the events but on himself writing these events. For instance, p62 : ‘reading over what I have written so far, I’ve given the impression that the events of three nights several weeks apart were all that absorbed me’. There is a sense in which the The Great Gatsby would concern Nick. Through the events of the summer of 1922 and his writing, Nick has changed. When he is involved in the action, he is a belated adolescent but he is an adult when writing back after two years. Chap7 : ‘I was 30. Before me stretched the portent menacing road of a new decade‘ (p142). In a way, he has gained knowledge, passing from innocence to the consciousness of the complexity of the world.

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Nick’s process of initiation ends with his sudden realization that his fascination for a gleaming, dazzling East was unfounded. After Gatsby’s death there remains nothing in the East but void and emptiness : the only music and laughter that Nick can hear are imaginary, hallucinatory : ‘I spent my Saturday nights in New York because those gleaming, dazzling parties of his were with me so vividly that I could still hear the music and the laughter’ (p187). The introduction of a first-person narrator who reflects the main protagonist’s personality is the best way to conjure up a sense of mystery that cannot be solved. When all bas been said and done the fact is that Gatsby remains elusive, indiscernible and unfathomable. Therefore the character’s myth is never ever broken up. Nick’s encounter with Gatsby is a decisive step in the narrator’s progress towards adulthood. Writing retrospectively this biographical fragment is for Nick one way of consolidating his adulthood. Ultimately the memory of Gatsby is the only treasured possession that Nick may bang back to his native Middle West.Tags: characters, Gatsby, Jay-Gatz, Nick-Carraway, Tom, vision Auteur de l’article : Matt .

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