Character Flaws In The Great Gatsby

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Some of the most upstanding members of society possess unseen characteristics that define them, for who they truly are, secrets that they masquerade behind a façade of decorum and extravagance. The casual observer may never know the man behind the mask, but a learned historian can reveal to the world the secrets that some would rather sweep under the rug. One of America’s most celebrated novelists of all time, Francis Scott Fitzgerald has always been viewed as a talented, brilliant author. Although outside accounts sometimes skim over the less tasteful aspects of his life, Fitzgerald cannot help but betray his true nature to the reader, if only unwittingly. Perhaps his most acclaimed opus, The Great Gatsby, is actually more autobiographical…show more content…
Fitzgerald likes to think of himself as humble and objective, as he writes Nick, but just like Nick, he reveals himself to actually have multiple character flaws. Nick promises us on page one that he is “inclined to reserve all judgments,” but as the novel progresses, Nick loses his objectivity substantially (1, Fitzgerald). Fitzgerald, too, likes to paint a picture of himself as an upstanding gentleman, but as his life progresses, the historian can see that that is far from the truth. Fitzgerald has multiple character flaws that he tries to hide, but that are unwittingly revealed in The Great…show more content…
Fitzgerald is a strong proponent of white supremacy: in his novel Tender is the Night, his uses the term Aryan, betraying his beliefs. In 1922, Fitzgerald proclaimed, "I believe at last in the white man 's burden. We are as far above the modern Frenchman as he is above the Negro" (148, Bruccoli). In Gatsby, Tom preaches heavily about The Rise of the Colored Empires, and that it is up to them, “the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things” (13, Fitzgerald). Fitzgerald lets this damning ideology into the book because he approves of it himself, and perhaps wants to expose the reader to it. Later into the book, he makes another mention, this time acting as Nick: “… a limousine passed us, driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish negroes, two bucks and a girl. I laughed aloud as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry” (69). Fitzgerald is also strongly anti-Semitic. Meyer Wolfsheim, the only Jew in Gatsby, is described as “small, flat-nosed” with a “large head… tiny eyes” (69). Perhaps even more stereotypically, Wolfsheim is a banker, apparently preoccupied with money. Ironically, Wolfsheim works for the Swastika Holding Company. In another one of his novels, The Beautiful and the Damned, Fitzgerald again portrays Jews in a negative light, using the dialogue “Not so fas’, you Goddam Jew” [sic] (437, Fitzgerald). According to Milton
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