Dualism In The Great Gatsby

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A mirror of sorts, art is often a reflection of how an artist sees life or wishes to see life. Regarded as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most notable work of literary art, The Great Gatsby whispers with echoes of the author’s personal experiences. In the introduction to The Far Side of Paradise: A Biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Arthur Mizener notes, “[Fitzgerald] always…wrote about himself or about people and things with which he was intimate. As a consequence his life is inextricably bound up in his works” (xviii). In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s life is reflected in the Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, and the lavish portrayal of upper-class life in 1920s America.

In The Great Gatsby, the background of narrator Nick Carraway parallels Fitzgerald
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“His use of a narrator allowed Fitzgerald to keep clearly separated…the two sides of his nature, the middle-western Trimalchio and the spoiled priest who disapproved of but grudgingly admired him. Fitzgerald shuffled back and forth between their attitudes…” (Mizener 185). Fitzgerald was a part of two worlds, the Middle West represented by Carraway’s efforts to hold fast to its simple virtues, and the East exemplified by Gatsby’s corruption by its urban sophistication and culture. Like Fitzgerald, Carraway lived internally, reflecting deeply on life as he lived it and fighting to resolve his inner conflict with his surroundings. Both were watchers of life who, at once, aspired to reach great heights but also were hesitant to take the falls of the morally dishonest examples that they…show more content…
“Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known” (Fitzgerald 64). Eventually, Carraway’s point-of-view bestows heroism upon Gatsby’s pitiable life. “They’re a rotten crowd,” Carraway tells Gatsby, a romantic fool whose simple, Midwestern belief in love is corrupted by the Eastern obsession with vacuous wealth into which the likes of Tom and Daisy Buchanan escape responsibility. “You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.” Ever torn in his assessments, Carraway claims, “I’ve always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave [Gatsby], because I disapproved of him from beginning to end” (Fitzgerald
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