Stereotypes and Stereotyping of Characters of The Great Gatsby Essay

Stereotypes and Stereotyping of Characters of The Great Gatsby Essay

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The Stereotypical Characters of The Great Gatsby

 
    F. Scott Fitzgerald is well known for being an excellent writer, for expertly describing the Jazz Age, and for having a drinking problem.  However, he is not so well known for creating deep and intriguing characters.  In The Great Gatsby, the majority of the characters remain one-dimensional and unchanging throughout the novel.  They are simply known from the viewpoint of Nick Carraway, the participating narrator.  Some insight is given into characters in the form of their dialogue with Nick, however, they never really become deep characters that are 'known' and can be identified with.  While all of the participants in the novel aren't completely flat, most of the main characters are simply stereotypes of 1920's people from the southern, western, and eastern parts of America.

 

"Proper Southern Belles 1. Never blow their noses in public, 2.  Never chase after a man- they connive a man into chasing them, 3. Always get what they want, 4. Are extraordinary hostesses, 5.  Always look their best, 6.  Are always a bit mysterious, and 7.  Are witty and charming." (Suney)  In short, a typical Southern Belle is lovely, well mannered, and above all, wealthy. Daisy Buchanan is lovely, well mannered, and above all, wealthy.  She was known as the most beautiful girl in Louisville, and her family was very rich.  Daisy, being the most popular girl amongst the soldiers, could pick any man she liked to 'connive' into chasing her.  When Jay Gatsby came around, she fell in love with his lie of being rich and from a good family.  But after he went away to war, she became impatient and couldn't wait for the man she thought she loved.  When she met Rich Easterner Jock, Tom, she marrie...


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...nts of conversation with Nick, the characters remain on the levels of small talk and public knowledge.  The only insight given to their lives is that they can easily be defined by a stereotype.  Daisy is the Southern Belle/Easterner: rich, proper, and reckless.  Gatsby is a Western Pioneer: continuously working toward his dreams.  Tom is the Rich Easterner Jock: large, hypocritical, and ignorant.  Fitzgerald used these common 1920's stereotypes to create the one-dimensional characters in this very multi-dimensional story, The Great Gatsby.

 

Works Cited and Consulted

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

F. Scott Fitzgerald. (1934) Columbia Quotations. [Online]. Available: www.Bartleby.com.

Suney. (1999) Proper Southern Belles. Personal Website. [Online].  Available: www.dbteck.net/~suncastl/lady.

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