Great Gatsby IRP

Elizabeth Bell

Racism is not Included

The presence of racism is not included in the movie as it is in the book. In the book, for example, Tom Buchanan is very racist. He often intensified when speaking of a book called “Rise of the Colored Empires” that condemns white supremacy. That and other instances combine to make the novel filled with racism. Alternatively, the movie doesn’t really contain much racism. Tom never speaks of “Rise of the Colored Empires” and minor details that occurred in the book do not occur in the movie. Luhrmann’s exclusion of racy behaviors takes away from the true attitudes of those in the time frame Great Gatsby was written in. Although it is respectable that the director did not include racism, it lacks the important social issues present at the time.

Nick is Known as the Author

It is simply suggested, or alluded to, that Nick is the author in the book. Readers go through the whole book not knowing the writer but are vaguely introduced near the end of the book. In the movie, though, it is clear to see that Nick was the author from the beginning. His therapist tells Nick to try writing things down because he was having trouble speaking them aloud, and from then, viewers are aware that Nick is the scribe. This places an emphasis on Nick’s character. In the book, Nick is understood as an important character, but he is not someone that readers focus on. Because, in the movie, Nick is shown as the author from the get-go, viewers put more attention on Nick’s character.

Nick and Jordan are Considered to be Dating

In the novel, Jordan and Nick have a fling. Although Fitzgerald never completely comes out and says it, he does describe Nick pulling Jordan’s face close to his. Additionally, that same night, Nick doesn’t come home until two in the morning, thus suggesting that he and Jordan had an intimate evening together. On the other hand, in the movie, Nick and Jordan never get close in that sense. They are seen flirting, but never to the extent that was described in the book. In fact, in the movie, Nick is encouraged to date Myrtle’s sister and he says “that’s not really my thing.” Because Nick is never seen having a complete relationship with anyone, viewers begin to see Nick as emotionless and harder to connect with.

Nick Carraway is in a Sanitarium

In the book, Nick never attends therapy or a sanitarium. Through the end of the book, Nick reflects on his time spent in the fast paced, high class city of New York. He then moves back to Minnesota to escape that lifestyle, but he never goes to therapy. Alternatively, the whole movie is told from Nick’s perspective as someone in therapy. From the very beginning, Nick is speaking to his therapist about his time spent in New York. This plot change alters the movie drastically because it suggests that the lifestyle in New York really put a toll on Nick. Because viewers, from the beginning, know that something is wrong with Nick, conclusions are automatically drawn that something terrible happened in New York. It gives away part of the story because viewers are already expecting something bad to happen.

Gatsby Dies Happily

In the book, Gatsby never receives a call from anyone at the very end. He takes a swim in his pool, gets shot by George, and eventually there isn’t even anyone to answer the phone, not even his butler. The movie ends differently. Gatsby is still waiting for a call from Daisy, but as he takes his swim he gets a call and perks up from the pool only to get shot by George. Before George shoots him, Gatsby hears the phone ringing and believes it’s Daisy. After he dies, audiences see that it was in fact Nick on the phone, not Daisy. So, even though it wasn’t Daisy calling, Gatsby dies thinking it was - thinking he is a winner. Because Gatsby dies with undeserved pride, audiences leave the movie thinking Gatsby is a loser rather than a winner.