In Chapter 3 of The Great Gatsby, who is the man in the library like?What character is he similar to?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The "man in the library," often referred to as "Owl Eyes" most closely resembles T. J. Eckleburg but serves to illuminate Fitzgerald's readers in regards to Gatsby's ignorance.  Jordan and Nick first discover Owl Eyes while looking for Gatsby.  "A stout, middle-aged man, with enormous owl-eyed spectacles, was sitting somewhat drunk on the edge of a great table" (45).  In conjunction, Dr. T. J. Eckleburg has eyes that "look out of no face, but instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose" (23).  More importantly, however, it is the books that Owl Eyes discovers (more than the character itself) that illuminate Gatsby as a character.  The books that Owl Eyes are so fascinated with are "absolutely real--have pages and everything. . . . [Gatsby] knew when to stop, too--didn't cut the pages" (46).  In other words, just like the books, Gatsby too is real but totally unformed because of his obsession with Daisy and, furthermore, is totally ignorant.  Just for fun, let's take the analogy a bit further and say that if the books are Gatsby and Owl Eyes is obsessed and fascinated with figuring them out, . . . then perhaps Owl Eyes himself can be compared to Nick, our narrator, who spends the entire book analyzing Gatsby.  Or perhaps that's going a bit too far . . .

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The Great Gatsby

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