Essay, Research Paper: Great Gatsby Characters Description

Literature: The Great Gatsby

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In the book, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, certain characters
developed so that they contradict another character personality traits. This
setup allows the characteristics of these two characters to be greatly notice by
the readers. In this case, the development of Nick and Gatsby are a
contradiction of each other: on one hand there is Nick who develops greatly
through the story and on the other hand there is Gatsby, a man caught up in the
corruptions of his own life. Let’s study these two different characters.
Unlike Nick, Gatsby does not develop in the course of the story. He cannot
because his whole life is devoted to the fulfillment of a romantic dream that he
created a long time ago. He is still caught in an adolescent faith, which is the
only thing that will keep this dream alive in him. His personal vision is based
on the illusory belief that time can be “fixed” and the past can be
recreated. “Can’t repeat the past? He cried incredulously. Of course you
can.” ( ) He is content with the thought that things will change to the way
that he wishes them to be. He is caught up in a romantic vision of him and Daisy
and by doing this is keeping himself from moving forward and progressing as an
individual. Because of this, throughout the entire story he holds onto the same
ideas that he can do and get anything he wants because he has money, and to him
that equals power. Nick Carraway on the other hand develops very thoroughly in
the story. The story, although narrated by Nick about Gatsby’s life, is also a
story of Nick’s own development in the story. In the beginning Nick is already
a sophisticated observer of characters but reserves his personal judgement,
remaining uninvolved in the sense that he is not willing to act upon what he
feels are the faults of the other individuals around him. Some example is when
he realizes Jordan baker is a liar and that this a defect held in her
personality. “She was incurably dishonest.” (63) Another time is when he
truly discovers s the irresponsibility of Tom and Daisy. At the point that he
draws all these conclusions about the characters he is still willing to tolerate
the defects of these individuals. The turning point of his development occurs
when he sees the reactions of Jordan and the Buchanans to Myrtle Wilson’s
death. At this time, nick finally stands back and develops a full sense of moral
responsibility. He realizes that he can no longer tolerate the moral vacancy
that lies beneath the wealth and sophistication of eastern society, and so in
the end returns to the west, after carefully fulfilling his personal
responsibilities. “Retreated back into their money or vast carelessness…and
let other people clean the mess they had made…”(188) At the books end we see
that Nick has finally become a man and has developed to realize that wealth is
not a substitute to moral responsibility. Another point where we can notice the
maturation of Nick is during his critiquing of Gatsby’s life. As Gatsby sees
it all as dream that will be fulfilled Nick begins to notice and become aware of
the certain flaws that this dream holds. Studying Gatsby and the way he runs his
life, Nick becomes aware of the fact that an ideal based on materialism alone is
a corruption rather than a fulfillment. Nick also develops as he studies the
better aspects of Gatsby’s life as well. He discovers that although he is
stuck in a fantasy world of corrupt dreams that it is better than being
motivated by complete selfishness like everyone else. He sees towards the end of
the book that Gatsby is a man just trying to create a dream he once while the
others are filled with corruption and deception of the others. Nick also
develops when it comes to the idea with his relationship with Jordan baker. Nick
could have easily let the relationship take care of itself before he left but he
insisted on terminating it, even though he still feels very strong for her. He
believes that before he leaves needs to “leave things in order” and doing
this takes a lot of maturity and responsibility So in the end it is seen how
these two characters contrast each other. One is a developing young man learning
through life and figuring out what he wants to become and the other is a man
who’s life was thrown away on a corrupted dream of greed and wealth. These two
characters have a contradiction that makes the story into of the greatest
stories of this century.
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