Creating Sympathy for The Great Gatsby

Powerful Essays
Creating Sympathy for The Great Gatsby

In the text, The Great Gatsby, the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald leads us to sympathize with the central character of the text, Jay Gatsby. Fitzgerald evokes our sympathy using non-linear narrative and extended flashbacks as well as imagery, characterization and theme. Through these mediums, Fitzgerald is able to reveal Gatsby as a character who is in an unrelenting pursuit of an unattainable dream. While narrative and imagery reveal him to be a mysterious character, Gatsby's flaw is his ultimate dream which makes him a tragic figure and one with which we sympathize.

In the opening pages of the text, we are introduced to the main characters through the believable and trustworthy narrative of Nick Carraway. We discover that Nick is a moral character who is disenchanted with society after returning from the East. Throughout the text, Fitzgerald uses Nick's narrative to guide our response to the central character of the text, Gatsby, whom Nick states, "represents everything for which I have unaffected scorn." Nick's narrative also reveals the weak and shallow characters of Tom and Daisy. Nick's ability to recognise this emptiness and compare it with Gatsby through imagery shows the effectiveness of Nick's narrative. The strong image of Gatsby reaching out toward the green light can be juxtaposed to Tom and Daisy whom Nick describes as being "careless people." Nick's references to Daisy's voice and his attraction to her voice as "glowing and singing", emphasises that we can trust him as a narrator as he too is vulnerable to temptation and worldly beauty. This concept of Nick being a character that is "within and without" leads us to trust him as he does...

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...athy by depicting Gatsby as isolated and betrayed by a society that is shallow and incapable of morality. Throughout the text, Fitzgerald uses the mentioned mediums to effectively evoke our sympathy toward the central character in the text, Gatsby.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Berman, Ronald. "The Great Gatsby" and Fitzgerald's World of Ideas. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama P, 1997.

Chambers, John B. The Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald. London: Macmillan/New York: St Martin's P, 1989.

deKoster, Katie, ed. Readings on "The Great Gatsby." San Diego: Greenhaven, 1998.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2004.

Higgins, John A. F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Study of the Stories. New York: St. John's UP, 1971.

Whitley, John S. F. Scott Fitzgerald: "The Great Gatsby." London: Edward Arnold, 1976.
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