Essay about The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Essay about The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Within or Without?
In the second chapter of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway states, “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life” (Fitzgerald 36). While this quote is used in both the novel and Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 movie adaptation, it bears different context between the two. In the novel, Nick is presented as one of, if not the most pivotal character of the story. He is indisputably “within” and has countless key interactions with other characters. In the movie adaptation however, Nick tells the story from the outside looking in, with less of a character emphasis. Nick’s subtle expression of his opinions changes the way the reader perceives certain characters, objects, and scenes.
Nick is not a pivotal character in the novel. That is, the story could have taken place without his presence. Nick’s most crucial role - bringing together Gatsby and Daisy - could have, and likely would have, been completed by Jordan, who had already been speaking with Gatsby. What separates Nick from the book and the movie is that in the book, every single event is told from his perspective - this was less prominent in the movie. Thus, Nick believes he has a greater role in the story than he actually does. It is in the second chapter of the novel when Nick Carraway states, “I was within and without” (36). Nick is at Myrtle’s New York apartment, attending a party with Myrtle, Tom, and other apartment residents. The quote, as it applies to the party, lacks much significance. Arguably, the New York party scene is not a vital scene in the novel. The party attendees, excluding Tom and Myrtle, never reoccur in the story. It is not the quote relating to the scene that is significan...


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...ects how the reader interprets the reality of the scenes. Nick deliberately shapes the story so that he is “within.” In the movie, while it is set to appear as though the storyline is being recalled from Nick’s memory, it is quite evident that the viewer is getting a non-biased recollection of the story. A casual viewer may not notice any important changes between the book and the movie, however a deeper analysis will prove that every single difference between the novel and movie is due to Nick’s influential opinion. If F. Scott Fitzgerald had truly wanted to tell the story of the Great Gatsby, he would have told it from a third-person narrative. The classic story that so many have come to love is not the tale of the Great Gatsby, but instead, the Great Gatsby: As Told By Nick - and while that “minor” detail may seem insignificant, it is in fact the root of the novel.

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