Write about the ways Gatsby is presented in the first four chapters of The Great Gatsby.Language, setting, structure, poetic prose, narrative tone, and chronology.

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Fitzgerald enlists his narrator, the commonsense Nick Carraway, to "deliver" the mysterious title figure. Gatsby can be understood as the 1920s version of Benjamin Franklin, the boy without resources who made himself into a tycoon. Gatsby's is the "rags-to-riches" American story, but without Franklin's prudence and civic-mindedness. Gatsby is also (as we shall see) more sinister and far more romantic than his 18th-century forebear.  Gatsby, we learn, bought this mansion and gives these parties in hopes of one day re-encountering his lost love, Daisy. Daisy is now married to Tom Buchanan and lives in a mansion across the bay in "East Egg," the more traditionally wealthy part of Long Island. Gatsby can see the green light on her dock, which comes to represent all his desire and longing. Gatsby tells Nick (his neighbor) of falling in love with Daisy when he was stationed in the South, five years earlier, an officer with infinite dreams but no real claims. This love affair was the spiritual high point of his life, and Fitzgerald offers us an exquisite evocation of love and sexual desire as the prime forces that move the world. The first few chapters begin with Nick, then Daisy (Nick's cousin) and Tom, then Gatsby's fabulous parties, and then the request that Nick invite Daisy to tea, so that Gatsby can at long last see her again and make good on his dream. This long-awaited rendezvous is handled with Fitzgerald's characteristic charm and wit and pathos. It moves from near-disaster to tearful reunion to stunning triumph of love, glamour, and even wealth.  Gatsby's character is elusive and full of pathos. His aura is reflected in the enormous parties he throws, a wild pursuit of the American dream that is deeply romantic.

 

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