Title: The Great Gatsby Essay, Research Paper
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Publisher: New York, Bantam Books, 1923
1. PlotA young bond-man from the Mid-west named Nick Carraway, moves to a suburb of New York in search of fortune. The first few weeks pose a general ?Culture shock? to him, but he quickly befriends one of his cousins by the name of Daisy Buchannon and her husband Tom. His neighbor, a very wealthy Mr. Jay Gatsby, is also one of the many interesting people that Nick encounters. Mr. Gatsby is known all around New York for his elaborate parties that are held nearly every weekend. Nick is invited to one, upon which he hears numerous rumors of how Mr. Gatsby attained his massive fortune; but everybody admits that it?s all hearsay. Nick also encounters a Miss Jordan Baker. He had met Ms. Baker previously at the Buchannon?s home when he had gone to pay his dear cousin a visit. About a week later, Nick and Tom Buchannon, were on their way up to New York, when Tom suddenly got off of their train and led them to a small service station, where they met a Myrtle Wilson, the wife of the owner. This was Tom?s mistress. There had been rumors flying, but Nick had really paid no heed to them until now. Off they went to New York to her sister?s house. They had a gay old time, except for the part about Tom breaking Myrtle?s nose because she kept on referring to Daisy. But other than that everybody was drunk and happy. Some time after that, Nick was invited to go to New York with Mr. Gatsby, but during the car ride Nick is asked to do Mr. Gatsby a favor; arrange a meeting between him and Daisy. Nick soon discovers that, before the war, Gatsby and Daisy were lovers. Then, he got shipped off to go fight in ?The Great War? that was raging in Europe. They had corresponded mildly, but when he got back they never saw each other; except from a distance. His house was located directly across the bay from Daisy?s. At night, he watched the green light at the end of her dock; just waiting for their eventual meeting. Nick invites her over for tea one day, and Gatsby is more nervous than a little kid in a thunderstorm. But, eventually, things work out and the rest of the meeting goes quite smoothly. A couple of days later, Daisy and Tom invite Nick and Gatsby over for tea at their house. Jordan Baker is there, also, to the delight of Nick. After about thirty minutes of idle chit-chat, Tom decides that he wants to go to New York. Finding nothing else to entertain them-selves with, they opted on checking into a hotel. The argument that ensued was one of yelling, screaming, and nearly bloodshed. Tom had caught on to the clue that his wife was having an affair, and he didn?t like it one bit. Finally, after everyone had calmed down to some degree they started to head home. They were in two cars, Gatsby?s car and the Buchannon?s car. Whenever they were nearing Wilson?s service station, Myrtle Wilson, in a violent fit of emotion, ran screaming into the road She was run down like a dog by Gatsby and Daisy in Gatsby?s bright yellow sportster. Wilson was emotionally traumatized. He vowed to find out who killed her, and he did. That night, as Gatsby was swimming, Wilson shot both Gatsby and himself right in Gatsby?s back yard.
2. CharacterizationGatsby is the ultimate symbol of wealth. He threw massive parties every weekend, and essentially had anything that he wanted; except for Daisy. On the outside, he?s a hard-shelled ?Mystery man?, who?s always on the phone with somebody who wishes to remain anonymous. But on the inside, he?s a lonely little rich boy with nobody to love. Nick Carraway is the only one who keeps a sensible head during the whole thing. In the beginning, he started out as a mild-mannered, young kid from the sticks; but by the end of the story, he had learned to stand up and say something, no matter what kind of ridicule might come upon him. Daisy is a ?Wishy-washy? kind of gal. She can?t seem to make up her mind whether or not she wants to be with Tom or Gatsby. Tom, I guess, would be considered the bad guy in the story. He always has to have his way, or somebody gets hurt. He can?t control his temper very well, so many of the other minor characters, such as Wilson, tend to back away from him. Jordan Baker is the big ego of the novel. She thinks that she can wrap the whole world around her little finger and then do with it as she pleases. But, Nick proves her wrong, by tentatively disagreeing with her on one occasion; and that didn?t exactly make her the happiest little camper. In all, the characters provide a various array of backgrounds and personalities.
3. SettingsThe author couldn?t have picked a more prime setting for the story. New York gives the appropriate backdrop for the kind of story that this was. In many scenes, the setting can make all the difference. For example, when Myrtle Wilson gets run down, you can very easily see it happening in your mind. Fitzgerald has done a very good job in placing the story.
4. StyleMost of this story is based upon real life in the 1920?s. Fitzgerald uses many common things to get his point across. In essence, he was writing this book so that fifty years from now, if some one read it and had no idea of what the 1920?s were like, they could still get a feel for it by taking things out of context. This story isn?t very humorous. It does have some occasions, whereupon I got a good chuckle, but other than those few, nothing else.
5. ThemesWealth isn?t everything is the dominant theme of The Great Gatsby. This theme is implied several times throughout the book. When Nick is sitting in his back yard one night, and Gatsby came out. ?But I didn?t call to him, for he gave a sudden intimation that he was to be left alone-he stretched out his arms in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn that he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward-and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock, When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the quiet darkness.? The green light that Gatsby was reaching for was the light on the end of Daisy?s dock.
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