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Fitzgerald's Great Deception: The Unexpected Hero

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The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is an insightful story with many different themes and motifs. Some of the more obvious themes are wealth and social class. The theme that is not as clearly seen is the theme of deceit. One may think that the title, The Great Gatsby, reveals the hero of the story. However it is not Gatsby, but Nick Carraway that is the hero. Fitzgerald used the theme of deception and Nick’s first-person point of view to show his readers that Nick is the hero of The Great Gatsby.
In the first few chapters of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald paints Jay Gatsby in a positive light. Nick Carraway, the story’s narrator, tells the reader, “He smiled understandingly – much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced – or seemed to face – the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.” (Fitzgerald 48) Nick also conveys that everybody who attended one of Gatsby’s parties wanted to get to know him. His guests were interested in his true story; they speculated about his past. (Fitzgerald 44) “Gatsby” was a mystery that everybody wanted to solve. Little did they know that his true story was not so great. Fitzgerald created a theme of deception. He used delayed characterization and waited until chapter four to start revealing to the audience Gatsby’s true character. By the end of the book nobody wanted to trust ...

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...e one person in the story who realized that wealth corrupts even the “greatest” of people.
The Great Gatsby is a story about self-serving deception, and how being deceitful to others or to one’s self will only lead to destruction. Fitzgerald was sending his audience a message with this book. Through the use of Nick’s first person point of view, he was warning us not to lie or cheat people; that the only way to live a truly happy and honest life is to be yourself and not let the corruption of those around you penetrate who you are. Fitzgerald was warning us through his theme of deceit that only the honest and good people can be heroes. Because Nick was able to be in but not of Gatsby’s world, he emerges as the unexpected hero and the only character worthy of the reader’s trust.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1925. Print.
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