I am writing an essay tomorrow. No I am not asking for somebody to write the essay for me. I just need a bit of help with the topic we were given. I am more than capable of putting the essay...

I am writing an essay tomorrow. No I am not asking for somebody to write the essay for me. I just need a bit of help with the topic we were given. I am more than capable of putting the essay together myself. Here is the topic we were given today (the essay topic is talking about the novel The Great Gatsby):

Consider how the effect of a perspective has been reflected and developed in The Great Gatsby. Discuss the idea(s) developed by the text creator(s) about the effect an individual’s perspective has on his/her identity.

This is based on one character from the story and how that perspective changed his/her identity throughout the story.

I am not really sure what to write about and I'm really confused. I don't have access to my teacher to discuss it. If someone could help me before the day ends that would be great so I can prepare for tomorrow.

Thank you! :)

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two characters that come to mind here as possibilities for the essay: Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby.

  • Nick Carraway

Having come from what he considers at the end of the novel a much more wholesome Midwest to the East Coast, the unsophisticated Nick becomes embroiled in the lives of the "careless" and amoral people such as Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Jordan Baker,  Myrtle Wilson, the McKees, and Meyer Wolfschiem until he has lost his moral compass and become "a bad driver." He finds himself becoming complacent in his role of friend to these people, and even a confidant in the secret rendez-vous of Gatsby and Daisy. In fact, when he ends his relationship with Jordan, she, who is a very "bad driver," accuses Nick of being one himself.

Nick is appalled at the conduct of both Tom and Daisy, especially when they think only of themselves after the killing of Myrtle Wilson. Seeing that Gatsby is willing to take the blame for this cruel accident, standing in the rain outside the Buchanan's window should Daisy need him, Nick later tells Gatsby he is worth the "whole damn bunch." Disenchanted with the East Coasters, who discard people's lives as though they are yesterday's news, Nick vows to return to the Midwest and renew his old values.

  • Jay Gatsby

Originally Jay Gatz, a hard-working young man who aspires to success and the ethical American Dream, this young man refashions himself as Jay Gatsby, a successful man of business who has come to West Egg in order to pursue further a dream of wealth, luxury and glamorous materialism. Having acquired his wealth by dubious means, Gatsby is concerned only with his appearances of great wealth as he watches hopefully the green light on the end of Daisy Buchanan's pier. This light on the pier is that secret place where Gatsby hopes to climb and "gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder," the image of Daisy that he holds in his heart from the past.  

He imagines himself the knight errant returned to seek the grail of Daisy's love which he once had. Having learned that Tom Buchanan has acquired her by means of a $350,000 pearl necklace, Gatsby hopes to win her with his mansion fashioned after a French Hotel de Ville, his gilded rooms, and many shirts and other material possessions. He holds fantastic parties on his front lawn and watches the green light more. 

That he has altered his perspective from the humble but hard-working Gatz is evident from his response to Nick in Chapter Six:

"Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!"

Further, Jay speaks of recovering something from the past such as "some idea of himself that had gone into loving Daisy." This idea seems to be her love of material possessions because he tries to impress her with his parties, his mansion, his gilded bathroom, and his English-tailored shirts. 

It is this lofty idea of himself that Jay Gatsby pursues in the hope of recapturing the past and Daisy as she once was.

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

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