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The Great Gatsby Character Analysis

An in-depth character analysis of Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway.
by

Katie Bennett

on 1 December 2012

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Transcript of The Great Gatsby Character Analysis

An in-depth character analysis of Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway The Great Gatsby Brief Plot Overview What will be discussed... History of Jay Gatsby The young Nick Carraway moves to West Egg from Minnesota in 1922. In the West Egg district of Long Island, he becomes neighbors with the luxurious Jay Gatsby. Nick Carraway has wealthy connections in East Egg, such as his cousin, the charming Daisy Buchanan. In East Egg, he meets golfer Jordan Baker and the violent Tom Buchanan. Jay Gatsby is a young man around his early thirties. Gatsby is not personally introduced through a speaking role until chapter three of the novel. Gatsby's reputation reaches people before the actual man does. This dramatic introduction of Gatsby portrays Gatsby's personal dramatic approach to life. Gatsby is portrayed as mysterious and shady. The origin of his wealth remains unknown for a while, but it is later discovered that he is a bootlegger who sells illegal alcohol. Gatsby is often not a guest at his own parties that he throws each weekend.
However, Gatsby was not always a rich and famous man. Plot Overview Continued... Gatsby explains to Nick that he intends to take the blame for killing Myrtle in order to protect his beloved Daisy. Soon after the incident, Tom Buchanan implies to George Wilson that Gatsby hit and killed his wife. On an angry rampage, George Wilson hunts down and shoots Gatsby, killing him. Nick Carraway is one of the few people to attend Gatsby's funeral. Nick then resolves to move back to the Midwest and realizes that there are no morals in the rich population of East Egg and a source of emptiness that surrounded Gatsby during his life. Plot overview continued While living in West Egg, Nick Carraway observes the lavish parties that Jay Gatsby throws every weekend. Finally, he is invited to one of these parties by a butler. At the party, Nick meets Gatsby and learns more about his reputation through Jordan Baker. After establishing somewhat of a friendship, Nick assists in the rekindling of a past love affair between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Tom Buchanan, Daisy's husband, becomes jealous and an altercation occurs between Tom and Jay. After the altercation in the city, Daisy drives back to East Egg in Jay's car and hits and kills Myrtle Wilson in the Valley of Ashes. Throughout the narrative fiction, Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway reveal their true characters. The relationship between Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway all began with an invitation to one of Gatsby's parties. In this classic novel, Jay Gatsby serves as the title character who has obtained extreme wealth, Nick Carraway serves as the narrator who reveals himself and others through his observations, and the two of these momentous characters share a multitude of similarities and differences. Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway experience the world with some similar actions, but reveal individualism through their beliefs about the world. A movie portrayal of Jay Gatsby in front of his mansion Jay Gatsby represents The American Dream as he rose from a childhood of poverty and became wealthy. Jay Gatsby was born an average boy in North Dakota without connections, wealth, or education. Before rising to extreme wealth, Gatsby met and fell madly in love with Daisy Buchanan. Daisy also fell for Gatsby and promised him that she would wait for him to return from the war so the two of them could be together. However, while Gatsby was studying at Oxford in an attempt to gain credentials of the caliber to impress Daisy, she abandoned their love and married Tom Buchanan. Jay Gatsby About Jay Gatsby Jay Gatsby's history continued Finding this out, Gatsby vowed to become extremely wealthy to impress Daisy and win her back. Upon reinventing himself with the goal of winning his true love, Daisy Buchanan, Jay Gatsby literally created his own identity. He changes his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby and makes his dreams of wealth a reality after living in poverty as a child. Nick Carraway The movie portrayal of
Nick Carraway observing his surroundings Nick Carraway Nick Carraway is the first person narrator of the novel. Nick Carraway is Jay Gatsby's neighbor in West Egg district of Long Island- the district of "new money". Nick is a young man who reaches his thirtieth birthday in the course of the novel and is a Midwesterner who moves to New York to learn more about the bond business. Carraway is reflective, observant, and attentive, making him an ideal narrative of this novel that serves somewhat as a personal reflection of events with Gatsby. Not only is he observant, but Nick is a great listener. This quality usually provokes others, unintentionally, to tell Nick all sorts of secrets. Nick Carraway Continued.... Nick appears to be the only character throughout the novel with a strong sense of morals and finds the charming state of New York morally grotesque. He observes people and acts friendly, but judges people harshly in private to the reader. He thinks of himself as having higher morals than his friends, but the more time Nick spends in the world he is observing, he becomes more and more like the people around him until he decides to move away. By the end of the novel, Nick remains one of the greatest mysteries. Background on the relationship between Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway Prior to meeting, Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway are simply neighbors who are curious of one another. Nick Carraway only knows that his neighbor is incredibly rich and throws extremely lavish parties, and Jay Gatsby feels curious about his neighbor living in the small vacancy. To break the ice, Gatsby sends over a butler to invite Nick Carraway to one of the huge parties that Gatsby throws each weekend. After attending the party, Gatsby and Nick become acquainted and start to spend time together. They form a bond and an unusual friendship, despite obvious differences. Similarities between Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway Jay and Nick are both around the same age and both grew up in the mid-west. Before moving to New York, both characters fought in the war and then had a desire to move out East. Gatsby and Nick both had a serious lover at some point, but somehow ended up losing their relationships with their girlfriends. Both of them are not drunks, and they both seem to be more intelligent and insightful than the others around them. Both Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby represent different characteristics of F. Scott Fitzgerald himself. Gatsby represents the part of Fitzgerald that is a celebrity who seeks wealth in order to impress the woman he loves. Nick, on the other hand, represents the part of Fitzgerald that is a drifting, observant Midwesterner. Differences Between Jay and Nick Although both characters lost important relationships, in the past, they deal with it differently. However, Gatsby is still obsessed with the love that he lost throughout the novel, while Nick Carraway is able to forget and leave his past love behind him. Jay Gatsby becomes involved in illegal business deals while Nick lives a lawful and straightforward life because he does not dream of impossible wealth and love. Jay Gatsby has an intense hatred of poverty, and will achieve wealth by any means, unlike Nick Carraway. Gatsby remains somewhat anti-social in order to secure his dreams, while Nick Carraway is involved in a myriad of different social groups. More differences and how these impact one another Jay Gatsby made his wealth by himself, and thus has no true connections with significant people. Although Nick is not wealthy, he has connections to important people. His cousin is Daisy Buchanan,which allows him to assist in the beginning of a new affair between Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. This relationship, however, indirectly leads to Gatsby’s final destruction. At the end of the novel Nick and Jay Gatsby have developed a strong bond. Nick is one of the only people to attend Gatsby’s funeral. Nick also comes to believe that Jay Gatsby's obsessive fantasies are not worthy of him. By the end, Jay Gatsby has remained static and unchanged while Nick Carraway has become dynamic and changes in various ways. This is because Nick views the world differently and ultimately realizes and becomes aware of his loss of innocence and surrounding chaos. To conclude...... Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway are both unique characters that share a variety of similarities and differences. Jay Gatsby serves as the flashy, love-struck title character. Nick Carraway serves as the reflective narrator. The two of these infamous characters experienced similar happenings in their past and have similar thoughts. However, certain decisions influenced their current states of being, which have caused a large array of differences between the characters. Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby made similar decisions in the past, but their differing emotional capacities changed their futures and characters to diverge further from one another. They both have an influence of one another and inevitably impact each other’s lives. Differences of home life
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