Great Gatsby

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Nick Carraway, the narrator of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, assigns certain types of images and descriptive words to Tom, Daisy and Jordan and continues to elaborate on these illustration throughout the first chapter. Nick uses contrasting approaches to arrive at these character sketches; Tom is described by his physical attributes, Daisy through her mannerisms and speech, and Jordan is a character primarily defined by the gossip of her fellow personages. Each approach, however, ends in similar conclusions as each character develops certain distinguishing qualities even by the end of the first chapter. Lastly, the voices of the characters also helped to project truly palpable personalities. Tom Buchanan is repeatedly depicted by words referring to his hulking and massive frame, producing a vivid image of sheer arrogance and power. Before Tom is even introduced, his expansive house is seen, an ostentatious mansion fit for a postcard. Tom later remarks matter-of-factly “I’ve got a nice place here'; (12). Nick’s first actual encounter with Tom is a paragraph saturated with words of strength and authority: sturdy, supercilious, enormous, and aggressive, to name a few. Tom’s physical body is described as “cruel'; and this describes more than just his body, but his demeanor as well. His voice, “…a gruff husky tenor…'; (11), added to his rough image. Every one of his actions is completed with unnecessary force. Tom has the tendency to manhandle Nick, manipulating nearly all of his movements. “…wedging his tense arm imperatively under mine, Tom Buchanan compelled me from the room as though he were moving a checker to another square. (16)'; The action verbs Fitzgerald employs convey Tom’s brutish force. Charles Scribner III could not have been more correct when he said, “I would know Tom Buchanan if I met him on the street and would avoid him…'; (199). Daisy’s actions and words contrast greatly with her husband, Tom, and his grave nature. Her impression on the reader is frivolous with her “charming little laugh'; (13), and her light manner. In addition, Daisy’s tendency to murmur, rumored to make people lean closer to her, also reflects on her coquettish personality. Nick’s ability to read Daisy so well from her facial expressions and body language attests that her mannerisms are very illustrative; “Daisy took her face in her hands…I saw that turbulent emotions possessed her, so I asked what I thought would be some sedative questions. She also welcomes Nick’s charming but cheesy flattery, when talking about Chicago and she treats him the same way in return by referring to him as a rose and also by saying “I am p-paralyzed with happiness'; (13).

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