Tuesday, January 14, 2020
What Does Fitzgerald Establish in the Opening of the Great Gatsby?
What does Fitzgerald establish in this opening? In the opening of The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald establishes to readers that the book will be narrated by a man who supposedly Ã¢â¬Ëreserve[s] all judgmentsÃ¢â¬â¢.Through Nick, Fitzgerald establishes the hypocrisy and possible unreliability of the narrator Ã¢â¬â he makes judgments despite claiming that he Ã¢â¬ËreservesÃ¢â¬â¢ them (saying Ã¢â¬Ëthe intimate revelations of young menÃ¢â¬â¢ are Ã¢â¬Ëplagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressionsÃ¢â¬â¢); the ambivalence of the narrator (and consequently the reader) towards life in the East, for which he has both an Ã¢â¬Ëunaffected scornÃ¢â¬â¢ and fascination; and ultimately how the Ã¢â¬Ëfoul dustÃ¢â¬â¢ that surrounded Gatsby, and indeed the American dream has diminished the Ã¢â¬Ëinfinite hopeÃ¢â¬â¢ of humanity to come to nothing.Fitzgerald immediately establishes that Nick is a privileged person, who has had Ã¢â¬ËadvantagesÃ¢â¬â¢ that other people did not. He was educated at Yale, and as such he has connections to some Ã¢â¬Ëenormously richÃ¢â¬â¢ people, among them being Tom and Daisy Buchanan. At the same time, however, readers are made aware that Nick chooses to Ã¢â¬Ëreserve all judgmentsÃ¢â¬â¢, which he claims has made him Ã¢â¬Ëprivy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown menÃ¢â¬â¢.There are times when Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom share confidences in him, which consequently allows Nick to see both the hollowness of DaisyÃ¢â¬â¢s (and indirectly humanityÃ¢â¬â¢s) Ã¢â¬Ësophisticat[ion]Ã¢â¬â¢, as well as the Ã¢â¬Ëextraordinary gift of hopeÃ¢â¬â¢ that Gatsby possesses. This also makes readers aware of these different characteristics, and through Nick, readers can form their own judgments of the different characters. Although Nick claims to Ã¢â¬ËreserveÃ¢â¬â¢ judgments, Nick makes or encourages judgments throughout the opening (Ã¢â¬Ëthe intimate revelations of young menÃ¢â¬ ¦ are usually plagiaristic and marred by ob vious suppressionsÃ¢â¬â¢).He boasts of his tolerance, and then immediately asserts that it has a Ã¢â¬ËlimitÃ¢â¬â¢, encouraging readers to question just how true his statements and claims really are. Fitzgerald establishes hypocrisy in Nick, the narrator, and forces readers to consider just how reliable he is in terms of telling his story. Throughout the book, Nick continues to make judgments about people (for example, referring to GatsbyÃ¢â¬â¢s partygoers as a Ã¢â¬Ërotten crowdÃ¢â¬â¢), and readers must constantly ask themselves just how reliable what they read is. The theme of hope, of believing in something better, is established when Nick refers to reserving judgments. Reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hopeÃ¢â¬â¢ illustrates the optimism that Nick hopes he can have, that by reserving judgments he hopes someone can better themselves. Perhaps it is this Ã¢â¬Ëinfinite optimismÃ¢â¬â¢ that keeps Nick fascinated by Gatsby, and subsequently life in the East. N ick is at first ambivalent regarding these wealthy individuals, having an Ã¢â¬Ëunaffected scornÃ¢â¬â¢ for everything that Gatsby represents, but also a borderline obsession (which he untruthfully claims as Ã¢â¬ËcasualÃ¢â¬â¢) for the lifestyle and people.He is disgusted by the moral decay of the East, but enjoys the fast-paced lifestyle; this is accurately described by how Nick was Ã¢â¬Ëflattered to go to places with [Jordan Baker] becauseÃ¢â¬ ¦ everyone knew her name. Ã¢â¬â¢ Despite this, NickÃ¢â¬â¢s optimism and hope is reflected in Gatsby, who is Ã¢â¬ËgorgeousÃ¢â¬â¢ and possesses a Ã¢â¬Ëgift for hopeÃ¢â¬â¢. This hope however ultimately comes to nothing, as Nick realizes the hollowness and immorality of life in East, and wanted the world Ã¢â¬Ëto be at a sort of moral attention foreverÃ¢â¬â¢.This letdown links closely to GatsbyÃ¢â¬â¢s dream of Daisy that has gone Ã¢â¬Ëbeyond everythingÃ¢â¬â¢; Gatsby had built an Ã¢â¬ËillusionÃ¢â¬â¢ that had a Ã¢â ¬Ëcolossal vitalityÃ¢â¬â¢, of which Daisy had no hope of satisfying (Ã¢â¬Ëno amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man can store up in his ghostly heartÃ¢â¬â¢). Nick states that Ã¢â¬ËGatsby turned out all right in the endÃ¢â¬â¢, yet Gatsby dies. This hints at the cynicism that Nick develops towards humanity after he sees the Ã¢â¬Ëfoul dustÃ¢â¬â¢ that Ã¢â¬Ëfloated in the wake of [GatsbyÃ¢â¬â¢s] dreamsÃ¢â¬â¢ Ã¢â¬â the hollowness, the materialism, the moral decay.Daisy is eventually shown to be materialistic, and she chooses the Ã¢â¬ËrevoltingÃ¢â¬â¢ Tom over Gatsby in a matter of minutes, causing GatsbyÃ¢â¬â¢s dream to fall apart irreparably. Gatsby had Ã¢â¬Ëadded to his fantasiesÃ¢â¬â¢, had poured so much into his single goal of winning Daisy, that when it was destroyed, he had nothing left to live for. Fitzgerald finishes the opening by hinting at how the people around Gatsby (the Ã¢â¬Ëfoul dustÃ¢â¬â¢) and their actions led Nick to lo se faith in humanity and to Ã¢â¬Ëtemporarily close outÃ¢â¬â¢ his interest in the Ã¢â¬Ëshortwinded elations of menÃ¢â¬â¢.In his opening, Fitzgerald establishes the questionable nature of the information transmitted to readers through NickÃ¢â¬â¢s ironic statements, while also foreshadowing what is to come. The Ã¢â¬Ëintimate revelationsÃ¢â¬â¢ and Ã¢â¬ËscornÃ¢â¬â¢ of Nick towards life in the East is overlapped with fascination, and it is ultimately established that despite his Ã¢â¬ËtoleranceÃ¢â¬â¢, the hollowness and immorality of the Ã¢â¬Ëfoul dustÃ¢â¬â¢ that Ã¢â¬Ëpreyed onÃ¢â¬â¢ Gatsby and the Ã¢â¬Ëlast and greatest of human dreamsÃ¢â¬â¢ made Nick lose faith in humanity.
Posted by Derrick Poe at 2:12 PM