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Nick's Admiration for Gatsby - Essay Example

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Name Nick’s Admiration for Gatsby The Great Gatsby is a literary classic, written in the post-World War I situation when America was experiencing a booming economy and rum-running came to millionaires like second nature…
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Nicks Admiration for Gatsby
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Download file to see previous pages This paper is going to explore Nick’s reserved observations for Gatsby and his growing fondness for him, despite the differences and illegal ways Gatsby had adopted to live such a sadistically prolific life. There is a paradox in the novel. Nick continues to like Gatsby even though he himself says that Gatsby “represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn” (Ch. 1). Secondly, Nick’s open-mindedness allows him to remain an apt observer and narrator, through which he gains ample insight into life. His paradoxical admiration for Gatsby makes it difficult for him to come to terms with “the foul dust that floated in the wake” of Gatsby’s dreams. Before learning how and why Nick has these dual feelings for the protagonist, one must learn who he was. Gatsby was a resplendently wealthy man living in a Gothic mansion in West Egg. Known for the lavish parties he threw every Saturday night, no one knew where he and his fortune came from. Through the passage of time, Nick discovered that he made his wealth through criminal activity because he wanted to attain a social position which could win him his love, Daisy, who happened to be Nick’s cousin. Nick could not resist Gatsby’s astonishing optimism and power to turn his dreams into reality. He was, both, a transcendentalist and a romantic character. When Nick assures Gatsby that one cannot repeat the past, he asserts “Why of course you can!” (Ch. 6). Gatsby was “overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves.” (Ch. 8). To Nick, he became an innocent child who was adamant to get his piece of cake. This is how Fitzgerald saw the American dream collapse in the 1920s, as the country’s optimism and individualism became subordinate to the amoral pursuit of wealth. By allowing Nick to have a soft corner for Gatsby, he addresses a larger theme of the novel, that is, the decline of the American dream and the shallowness of the high-born. There is an element of segregation between Gatsby and the rest of the aristocracy that compels Nick to say "They’re a rotten crowd …You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together." (Ch. 8). In the novel, the West Egg and its occupants represent the newly rich whereas the East Egg’s dwellers, especially Daisy and Tom Buchanan represent the old aristocracy. There is a contradiction in the old and the new in terms of behavior and presentation. The East Eggers prove to be careless and heartless people who rarely care about hurting others. This is evident from Tom’s relationship with Myrtle Wilson who is the wife of George Wilson, a resident of the valley of ashes, which lies between the West Egg and the East Egg. She happens to be Tom’s mistress, to improve her living standards but Tom treats her only as an object of his desire. Daisy, on the other hand is more fascinated by Gatsby’s wealth and his “shirts” than himself. As opposed to this Gatsby, a resident of West Egg shows more loyalty and gratitude because he has rebelled for a cause and gained his money illegally because he loves Daisy. He stays up till four in the morning to ensure that Tom has not hurt his Daisy. This distinction gives way to Nick’s emotions and he says: Even when the East excited me most, even when I was most keenly aware of its superiority to the bored, sprawling, swollen towns beyond Ohio, with their interminable inquisitions which spared only the children and the very old – ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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