Nasir Brown's Portfolio Project
Critiquing The American Dream in literature and life
Reading and Writing (Gatsby essay)
The mystery of Gatsby’s past is slowly revealed throughout the book in small bits until the very end of the book. Since Nick is the narrator the readers learn things as he does. Gatsby’s past is introduced in chapter 4 when Gatsby confronts Nick and tells him about his “past”. ““I’ll tell you God’s truth...“I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West — all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition.” (Fitzgerald 49 PDF). Nick is skeptical of Gatsby’s past after hearing all of this. His life before West Egg seems too fantastical to be real. Nick stays skeptical until chapter 6, when Gatsby’s true past is revealed. “James Gatz — that was really, or at least legally, his name.He had changed it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career — when he saw Dan Cody’s yacht drop anchor over the most insidious flat on Lake Superior.” (Fitzgerald 73 PDF). This progression of ambiguity leading to the payoff 2 chapters later adds to Nick’s understanding of Gatsby as a person, and why he acts the way he does.
Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship also develops Nick through tension. The relationship between Gatsby and Daisy is basically thrown onto Nick as he just met Gatsby and is promptly asked to arrange a date between the two. During their date Nick realizes that Gatsby is immature in his approach and sees a new side of Gatsby. “ ‘You’re acting like a little boy,’ I broke out impatiently. ‘Not only that, but you’re rude. Daisy’s sitting in there all alone.’ He raised his hand to stop my words, looked at me with unforgettable reproach, and, opening the door cautiously, went back into the other room.” (Fitzgerald 66 PDF). Nick later realizes how setting up this date could cause trouble between Daisy and Tom’s marriage and that culminates in chapter 7 when Tom and Gatsby finally confront each other. This tension that is put on Nick leads to his distrust of Gatsby and his general disdain for what happens in West Egg by the end of the book.
In conclusion, the tension and ambiguity in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald progresses the development of the character Nick Carraway. Gatsby’s past and Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship are prime examples of this. Nick’s role as the narrator helps us see the progression of the plot and the feel of these characters that Nick is interacting with.
Thinking and Making (Poem)
One Dream for All
The home of the brave
But the brave still seek freedom
Freedom from an oppressive society
The dream in which we all have
Is no longer obtainable
Shrouded in the disguise of truth
Is a lie to keep us in
This broken infrastructure
The land of the free
The home of the brave
But the free,
The free do not want others like them
We would like to earn the true meaning
Of this dream we all share
But we cannot earn what we built
In this country we call home.