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Why ‘The Great Gatsby’ is the Great American Novel

Introduction

❶However, for Fitzgerald and certainly his characters , placing the rich all in one group together would be a great mistake.

Gatsby is killed by

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Argumentative essay topics for The Great Gatsby
Literary Devices in The Great Gatsby

Scott Fitzgerald had an up-and-down career and a bad drinking habit and wound up dying at a young age while working as a script doctor in Hollywood.

He had fallen so low. At one point in the s, his widow, Zelda, had to make ends meet by busing tables in a restaurant in between her stays at a sanitarium, Corrigan reports. Scott and his dazzling wife did all the things that young, smart, fabulous people were supposed to do in the Roaring Twenties, like go to parties in Manhattan and on Long Island and then jump on a ship to Europe to hang out in Parisian cafes with other young ex-pat Americans, like that chap named Ernest Hemingway.

They vacationed on the French Riviera. They spent boatloads of money, but Fitzgerald kept things together by cranking out short stories and commanding a fine price for them. At some point in all this, he vowed to write a really great, modern novel, and he did just that circa Few literary critics registered that there was something special about the book.

Meanwhile, Zelda had suffered a series of breakdowns; Scott was in charge of raising their daughter, Scottie. In May , he wrote to his brilliant editor, Max Perkins:. It will be odd a year or so from now when Scottie assures her friends I was an author and finds that no book is procurable. Would the 25 cent press keep Gatsby in the public eye — or is the book unpopular.

Has it had its chance? The novel received a boost from the war: With millions of Americans in uniform overseas, the U. Corrigan pinpoints as the critical year of the Fitzgerald revival. That happened to be the year that J.

This is what I read in recent weeks as relief from my research on hypothetical dystopian futures. Paul was my colleague in the Style section back in the day. Yes, Plato was right to fear this technology. Not who we are; who we want to be. However, like money, Daisy is elusive and hard to hold onto. This may explain why Tom and Gatsby fight over her in chapter 7 as if she were an object:. Gatsby sprang to his feet, vivid with excitement. It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved any one except me!

The tone of the argument seems almost like that of two men fighting over the pot in a poker game. Daisy is a prize, and she seems to see herself in those terms. Jay Gatsby In the first two chapters of the novel, its title character is a mystery—a wealthy, fun-loving local celebrity with a shady past who throws lavish weekly parties. On the surface, Gatsby is an example of the American Dream in the s, the desire for wealth, love and power. Once out of high school, Gatz changed his name to Jay Gatsby and attended St.

Gatsby rarely drinks, and is distant at his own lavish parties. He wants the success Cody achieved without the destructive habits that success afforded him. Gatsby fell in love with Daisy, lied about his background, and vowed to someday be good enough to win her heart. Devastated, Gatsby went to Oxford in English for the education that would complete his transformation from poor farm boy to famous or infamous socialite.

He begs Nick to set up a rendezvous with Daisy for him, which Nick does. In a confrontation at the Plaza Hotel, Tom openly accuses Gatsby of criminal activities, including bootlegging. At this point, the Gatsby myth returns full force, as an enraged, jealous Wilson shoots Gatsby dead, then kills himself.

Jay Gatsby dies that night, and James Gatz along with him, anonymous and alone. Despite all that Jay Gatsby does, James Gatz lies just beneath the surface, simply wanting to be loved. Gatsby can easily be seen as a negative character—a liar, a cheat, a criminal—but Fitzgerald makes certain we see the soul of James Gatz behind the myth of Jay Gatsby. Fitzgerald ties Gatsby up with the American Dream, a dream of individualism and success with a purpose.

Like the America of the s, Gatsby loses sight of his original dream and replaces it with an unhealthy obsession—for the country, the pursuit of wealth for its own sake; for Gatsby, a sense of control over Daisy as evidence by both him and Tom in the Plaza Hotel. Gatsby is symbolic of a nation whose great wealth and power has blinded it to more human concerns.

In this sense, Gatsby could be considered more amoral than immoral—morality simply has no meaning for him so long as he makes his dream come true. Everything is simply a means to an end, and Gatsby represents those for whom the end is the only thing that is important.

Nick Carraway Nick is the narrator of the novel; the story is told in his voice and through his perceptions. It has also been suggested that Nick may be the character F.

Scott Fitzgerald based most closely on himself. Nick is a good Midwestern boy who attended Yale and moved to New York in to work in the bond market. The Great Gatsby is known as the quintessential novel of the Jazz age. It accurately portrays the lifestyle of the rich during the booming s. Readers live vicariously through the lavish parties and on the elegant estates. But beneath all the decadence and romance, The Great Gatsby is a severe criticism of American upper class values. Eliot's The Waste Land.

The appearance of at least four biographies in the s and early s is an indication that interest in Fitzgerald's novels remains unabated. Earlier critics of Gatsby emphasized biographical and cultural influences on the novel, and formalist approaches dealt with the novel's structure, point of view, symbols, use of language, and the like. By the s through the early s, a variety of approaches, both heavily theoretical and non-theoretical, have been evident in critics' commentaries.

While many have continued to explore biographical influences or comparisons with other authors, or to use New Critical analyses, others have increasingly employed such techniques as deconstruction, feminist criticism, and discourse analysis to uncover hidden meanings in the text.

As Ever, Scott Fitz: While I have met individuals whom I might describe as more Gatsby than Carraway, I have seldom met a critic I would so describe. As critics, we seem to cherish our disillusionment.

Indeed, serious interest in The Great Gatsby, according to Richard Foster, was launched by a generation of neoclassical and formalist critics who tended to believe in the final, tough truth of existence imaged in the thinning Cambridge University Press, In length, the book barely qualifies as a full-sized novel. In subject, it is about an American bootlegger who nourishes an adolescent dream about a golden girl he can't have.

Its plot does little more than tell us who the protagonist is and get him killed off in the end by the down-and-out husband of the Fitzgerald said in retrospect that his first novel had actually been not one book but three, and his second novel two.

He wanted his third novel to be more coherent: The critical consensus has been that what he produced is close to perfect. Nick's Dilemma in The Great Gatsby.

The Limits of Wonder, pp. Any attempt to pinpoint the importance of a work involves a slightly circular argument. The criteria that one brings to the work establish its sense of importance, and the claim for importance then justifies the criteria. Such a necessary circularity need not, however, diminish the more obvious contexts used in establishing the worth of a literary text.

Complexity and artistry, vision and technique are the Undine Spragg [in Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country ] is only one in a series of girls whose appetite mirrors a nation's desire. University of Illinois Press, And in the novel he makes it a point to be specific about the dating of his story.

In what particular ways does the novel use Ideology in Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Baldwin, pp. Northeastern University Press, Beginning with the premise that The Great Gatsby revises Daisy Miller, the readings that I undertake in this chapter are concerned with various states of panic: Scott Fitzgerald's Evolving American Dream: Since the first stirrings of the F.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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F. Scott Fitzgerald's life has striking similarities to characters in The Great Gatsby. According to "Mathew Joseph, a literary reference", he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota much like Nick Carraway. Another remarkable tie between Fitzgerald and Carraway was the .

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Critical Essays Social Stratification: The Great Gatsby as Social Commentary Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald offers up commentary on a variety of themes — justice, power, greed, betrayal, the American dream, and so on.

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Look at these example essays on the The Great Gatsby to see how other students have tackled their analyses. If you’re afraid your literary analysis still doesn’t go deep enough, or if you just need a second pair of eyes (not Dr. Eckleburg’s), send your analysis to one of the Kibin editors. It accurately portrays the lifestyle of the rich during the booming s. Readers live vicariously through the lavish parties and on the elegant estates. Romantics relate to Gatsby’s unrelenting commitment to Daisy, the love of his life. But beneath all the decadence and romance, The Great Gatsby is a severe criticism of American upper class values.

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Buy Literary Analysis of The Great Gatsby essay paper online Described by literal critics as the greatest work of Scott F. Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby not only remains one the greatest stories of all the time but also opens insight into the intrigues of the real life situation during the "Roaring Twenties.". Argumentative essay topics for The Great Gatsby. There are plenty of good essay topics in this category — after all, every literary work leaves a lot of space for imagination and potential argument. Fitzgerald’s novel can be analyzed from a variety of different perspectives, which makes it a perfect fit for an argumentative paper.