The Mystery That Was Gatsby The Great

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The Mystery That Was Gatsby, The Great Gatsby Essay, Research Paper The Mystery that was Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald s most famous work of literature is unarguably his great American novel, The Great Gatsby. This is plainly evidenced by its frequent and familiar appearance in the American classroom. The protagonist of the novel is the character mentioned in the title, Jay Gatsby. Though Gatsby s mysterious life is the focus of the novel, the reader always has a vague conception of the details that surround Gatsby s life and history. This causes Gatsby s character to seem that much more mysterious. Other characters in the novel, major or minor, are described by Fitzgerald much more deliberately and with much greater precision. Though other characters play roles subordinate to

Gatsby s the details that surround their lives as they relate to the story are defined and clear, at least more defined and clear than with Gatsby. This obscurity adds to the reader s curiosity about Gatsby s life, to the eccentric wonder that was his personality, and to the bewilderment that succeeded his death. Gatsby is the rich, majestic, protagonist of the novel. While it isn’t clear how he made all his money it is obvious that it was through illegal dealings in organized crime. There was a reference to the 1919 World Series, (That’s the one where the players on the Chicago White Sox helped out organized crime by not trying their hardest when it counted. Go Reds!) When asked about his line of work, Gatsby claims to be in the drugstore business. Drugstores were a common

means of bootlegging liquor during prohibition since pharmacists could sell whiskey by prescription. Fitzgerald is never quite clear as to just what extent of illegal activity Gatsby was involved in. At some points, he may even seem like a legitimate business man. It is clear that the driving motivation for getting all this cash is so that it will appeal to Daisy. Daisy was the rich girl that he fell in love with before he joined the service. But just what it was that made him fall so head over heels for her isn t so clear. Why would someone with the ambition of Gatsby devote five years of his life in pursuit of a woman as superficial as Daisy? Unfortunately he just didn’t have enough money to keep her while he was overseas. When Gatsby got back from the war, she was married to

someone else but that didn’t dissuade him in the least. Gatsby’s whole efforts in this book are focused on trying to bring him and Daisy back to the point of time before he joined the army except this time he has enough money for her. Gatsby says it himself on [page 111], Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can! The description of Gatsby s visual appearance doesn t come until well after he has been introduced into the story. This serves to allow the reader to form their own image of him, which can be of a slightly older man than Gatsby proves to be later in the story. Information about his past history is important to the story, yet given sporadically by the narrator and often when it could have been useful sooner in the book. This presents Gatsby early in the story as

a mystery and sparks the readers curiosity about him. All details about Gatsby, however sketchy, are given through the eyes of Nick Carraway, a character whose opinion of Gatsby changes as the story progresses and therefore the reader s impression of him is confused even more. Nick Carraway is the narrator of this story. As you can see on the first page Nick holds himself in higher esteem than the other characters in the novel. Even though Nick is the narrator he should not be completely trusted. On the first page he boasts about how he doesn’t judge people yet throughout the story he does just that. The only person who he envies though is Gatsby. On page 2, Nick says about Gatsby, He has an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any