How does F. Scott Fitzgerald use secrets and deception to drive his novel The Great Gatsby, in terms of style and atmosphere? Consider Tender is the Night to illuminate your understanding of The...

How does F. Scott Fitzgerald use secrets and deception to drive his novel The Great Gatsby, in terms of style and atmosphere? Consider Tender is the Night to illuminate your understanding of The Great Gatsby.

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

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Secrets are what drive Gatsby's narrative. Secrets surround who he is, how he makes his money, and his background. While these secrets are generated by others, Gatsby himself uses secrets to his own advantage, as he conceals his past and recreates his own narrative to fit the image he wishes to present. Even the books in Gatsby's library are rooted in deception: "It's a bona-fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella's a regular Belasco. It's a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop, too – didn't cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?"  Gatsby uses deception in terms of being able to enhance his own image.

Secrets are also evident in Gatsby's pursuit of Daisy.  He covets Daisy in secret, concealing it from her and others at first. Then, when it becomes evident that he might have a chance at being with Daisy, Gatsby keeps it a secret from Tom. The disclosure of his "secret love" is something that he believes will allow him to gain Daisy.  At the same time, Tom keeps his affair with Myrtle a secret, brutally punishing her when she mentions Daisy's name.  Fitzgerald depicts a social setting in which love and carnal desire is carried on in secret, away from others.  The deception that is perpetrated is evident in the form of abandonment.  Daisy and Tom eat cold chicken and drink beer in secret from the rest of the world. Nick is almost "spying" on them doing so.  Tom uses deception to finish off Gatsby's threat when he lies to George about who was driving the car that killed Myrtle.  Fitzgerald shows that secrets and deception are synonymous with love. Fitzgerald drives a narrative in which human beings construct their identity with the presence of secrets and deception

In the world of The Great Gatsby, deception and secrets underscore human emotions.  This same element can be seen in Tender is the Night.  The incest that Nicole suffers as a child is an act of secretive deception.  Fitzgerald establishes deception and cruelty can take place in the most intimate of realms.  At the same time, deception in the form of outward appearance can be seen in how Dick Diver uses alcohol to conceal his own despair.  Deception and secrets are evident in how the individual constructs their own identity and how they seek to appear to others.  This is a reality that Fitzgerald employs in both novels.  In both contexts, individuals use deception and secrets as a way to manipulate their reality.  It is only through prolonged use of secrets and deception where reality ends up manipulating them.  This reversal is critical to the characterizations of both Gatsby and Dick Diver.

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Wiggin42 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Valedictorian

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Secrets and deception are all through out The Great Gatsby. For instance, Tom and Myrtle keep their affair a secret from their spouses. Ultimately this comes to kill Gatsby in the end of the novel. Gatsby and Daisy keep their past and present relationship a secret from Tom. This deception creates suspense and adds interest (to an otherwise mostly plot-less novel. F. Scot Fitzgerald utilizes exposition above all else to make his point.)

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