"Action is character." Why might Fitzgerald have written this, as if action were the only or the best device for revealing character?What examples in Chapters V and VI show how he used action to...

"Action is character." Why might Fitzgerald have written this, as if action were the only or the best device for revealing character?

What examples in Chapters V and VI show how he used action to reveal characters?

Asked on by robbie93

2 Answers | Add Yours

mshurn's profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Fitzgerald also is often quoted as having said that we have no "second acts" in our lives. The strong implication is that we must take action while we can, when it matters. Life is not to be observed. The actions we take, however, does reveal the kinds of people we really are, despite what we may say.

As a writer, Fitzgerald frequently explored emotion through beautiful passages of description, rich in figurative language. In developing his characters, though, he chose to show them in action rather than tell us what kind of people they are. This narrative technique is evidenced abundantly throughout the novel.

In reference to Chapter V and Chapter VI, these actions reveal much about some specific characters.

1. Nick cuts off discussion of Gatsby's job offer thinking Gatsby is trying to pay him off for setting up a meeting with Daisy. Nick is a decent man; he won't be a part of any such financial arrangement. 

2. When he is reunited with Daisy, Gatsby almost knocks the clock off the mantle; he catches it "with trembling fingers." Gatsby is clearly nervous and emotionally overwhelmed at that moment.

3. At one point, Daisy calls Gatsby to the window to look at the beautiful pink clouds. She wants to "put [Gatsby] in it and push [him] around." Her response indictes Daisy's shallow emotional life, considering the circumstances.

4. Tom speaks with contempt when Gatsby accepts Mrs. Sloan's dinner invitation: "Doesn't he know she doesn't want him?" Tom's arrogance and sense of social superiority are shown clearly in his comment.

5. While attending one of Gatsby's parties with her husband, Daisy slips away with Gatsby after she makes sure Nick will act as a lookout. Daisy is disrespectful of Tom and does as she wishes.

In the novel's conclusion, the specific actions taken by Tom, Daisy, and Nick after Gatsby's death reveal completely their basic individual characters.

 

 

pseudoalias's profile pic

pseudoalias | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Where fitzgerald use such a words "Action is character" (Great Gatsby 1925 ?) I mean like, what page?

We’ve answered 318,908 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question