In what way can "The Great Gatsby" be considered a racist novel?

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pearlepratt eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Although “The Great Gatsby” is intended to offer commentary on human behavior and materialism, there is an element to the novel that can be viewed as racist. For instance, when Nick Carraway visits his cousin Daisy’s home, Daisy’s husband Tom engages him in conversation. Tom is apparently reading a novel entitled, “The Rise of the Colored Empires” and he energetically supports the author’s view that “colored” races are trying to take over a world that should rightly be dominated by “white” men. Although Nick offers no outward agreement with Tom, the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, intentionally created a character that espoused racist views. Likewise, Gatsby’s business connection, Meyer Wolfsheim, is only one of several Jewish characters mentioned in the text. These characters have a minimal role in the text. Yet, they represent almost the entirety of criminality. They are depicted as shady, dishonest and crooked. Fitzgerald makes these Jewish representations responsible for nearly all of the criminal acts in the text.

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The Great Gatsby

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