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Discuss the idea that in spite of The Great Gatsby being set in the realistic mode...

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sayantanis | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted January 15, 2012 at 7:31 PM via web

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Discuss the idea that in spite of The Great Gatsby being set in the realistic mode there are elements of non- realism in its narration.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 15, 2012 at 8:38 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that more specificity is needed in the original statement.  In particular, the idea of specific examples of "non- realism" is something that requires further analysis.  I think that the narration method in Fitzgerald's work embodies several conditions of realism.  The first is that Nick's narration does contain moral and ethical truths that realism sought to illuminate. One of the precepts of Realism was the idea that literature can be a gateway to exploring the philosophical discussions regarding redemption and despair.  Nick does this through his narration, as we are constantly examining how the social conditions that surround Nick and Gatsby play a role in how people act, and assessing the overall value of such actions.  I think that Realism sought to inject the city, or the urban setting, as a type of documenting the living conditions of the time. Through Nick, we fully understand the difference between East and West Egg, as well as what implications such geographical division holds on both the way in which individuals view themselves and how they view one another.  I think that Nick is a Realist narrator, in that he does depict and show the state of being of the characters in a manner that reflects what is and simultaneously what can or should be.

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