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Where are the author's qualities found in The Great Gatsby?

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bass251966 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 1, 2013 at 12:53 AM via web

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Where are the author's qualities found in The Great Gatsby?

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

Posted March 1, 2013 at 11:39 AM (Answer #1)

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As potent as the question is, it had to be edited down.  I find it to be potent because such a question strikes at both the meaningful nature of the work and the author who penned it.  I tend to think that Fitzgerald understood that he was both Nick and Gatsby.  Consider a quote that he believed towards his own notion of being:  “[The] black Irish half … had the money and looked down on the Maryland side of the family who had, and really had … ‘breeding."  For Fitzgerald, this condition of his own being helped to develop a self- inferiority complex of "double vision."  In this, one can see how he would hold the perceptions of both Nick and Gatsby within him.  He was able to fully identify with the excesses and dizzying heights to which Gatsby aspired.  This represented Fitzgerald's life with Zelda.  He understood clearly the ability to have life constructed on the weakest of foundations as he lived this life.  At the same time, I think that a case can be made that Fitzgerald yearned for the outsider role of Nick, the ability to remain distinct from a setting that enticed and entranced, but yet corrupted.  For Fitzgerald, one can see the "double vision" of his own life in the double vision of both Nick and Gatsby.  Within both realms, one can see how Fitzgerald ended up representing both the hope and elation and the hollowness and sadness of the 1920s.

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