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Name Significance in the Great Gatsby
Transcript of Name Significance in the Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald named his characters to create subtle imagery to describe them. He chose certain names depending on the character and what the name meant. Every name in this book is laced with symbolism to give the character more meaning.
The name Buchanan is an accurate name for someone wealthy. pretentious, snobby, sophistication auras are emitted from this name.
this name connects to the american dream because it represents someone wealthy, which is apart of the dream for most.
Fitzgerald used symbolic names for settings as well as characters such as East and West egg representing the more civilized east coast and the more wild west coast of America.
Literary Name Symbolism
Rosenkrantz, Linda. "Classic Baby Names: 10 Timeless Choices." Web log post. Nameberry Baby Name Blog Classic Baby Names 10 Timeless Choices Comments. N.p., 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 11 Oct. 2013.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print.
James- supplanter: One who wrongfully or illegally seizes power.
Gatsby: another name for a gun is a gat. Gatsby is a pun because he was killed with a gun.
"Oh, I've been in several things," he corrected himself, "I was in the drug business and then I was in the oil business. But I'm not in either now." (90)
he never truly comes out and says he was in illegal business, but we can assume he has seized his power and wealth through a wrongful manner as suggested by his name.
Gatsby's name connects to the american dream because James means seizing power and wealth which is what it's all about.
Nick Caraway is a name that is neutral. It can either be the name of someone extremely wealthy but can also be the name of a common street bum. Fitzgerald used this name to express Nick's character as being unbiased,confrontational.
"In Consequence, I'm inclined to reserve all judgements, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me." (1)
the quote above shows his lack of judgement causing a persona of being neutral.
Not only does the name Nick paint a picture of a neutral person, it also can be tied to Nicholas II of Russia who watched his whole empire crumble around due to corruption.
At first glance Tom is a simple character who is shallow and conceited. The lack of personality depth caused Fitzgerald to use a common and plain name.
"Now, don't think my opinion on these matters is final," he seemed to say, "just because I'm stronger and more of a man than you" (7)
this quote shows just how brutish and arrogant which is exactly what Fitzgerald was going for with Tom.
Daisy's name portrays her beauty. Using a Daisy, a white flower, as her name, Fitzgerald used color symbolism to convey her purity and status.
"Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who care for her found difficult to forget" (9)
this quote hints her beauty by describing her features as bright which suggests her innocence when she has excitement in her voice.
The name Jordan is a non-gender specific name. Jordan Baker was a woman that defied the image of a stereotypical woman of the time by being an athlete.
"She was slender, small breasted girl, with an erect carriage, which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet."(11)
This quote shows she wasn't feminine and even defied gender stereotypes through her appearance.
Myrtle was a plain, homely sort of woman with little intelligence. The name Myrtle is used to describe her because the name is as equally as unflattering.
"Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crepe-de chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty, but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smoldering." (25)
This quote shows her lack of beauty. Myrtle flowers are not nearly as beautiful and delicate as Daisies which is why Myrtle is just the mistress.
A simple name for a simple man. Fitzgerald used the name Wilson because it is a name a person with normal wealth would have. Compared to the pretentious name of Buchanan, Wilson is for a man who has to work for his American Dream.
"He was a blond, spiritless man, anaemic and faintly handsome." (25)
Like his wife, Wilson is only "faintly" attractive which suggests that he is not in the same league as someone wealthy like Tom Buchanan. The name Wilson fits his spiritless personality.