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Fitzgerald is Nick AND Jay

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Matthew Williams It's long been held that Fitzgerald used The Great Gatsby to express his true feelings about the rich and the leisure class. But what I wanted to postulate was that his characters, Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby, represented two versions of his character in this world.

Nick, in my opinion, represents how Fitzgerald sees himself, the honest man in a company of liars. His mid-western values and non-judgmental nature make him the perfect foil and observer, but also make him the perfect outsider, which is how Fitzgerald always felt in the company of rich people. And of course, he's the only one who understand Jay Gatz.

Speaking of whom, consistent with how I read the book, this is how Fitzgerald thinks others see him. He's a playboy, wealthy and lavish, and seems carefree; but at his heart he's a pretender and a phony. And in the end, he's betrayed by the woman he loves because "rich girls don't marry poor boys", which mirrors events in his real life, and all the people he was trying to impress don't seem to care.

Personally, I thought the metaphorical nature was thick enough that you'd need a knife to cut through it. But I could be projecting. What do you think?


Tara Darden I read this book in my senior IB english class and in IB we are prompted to "think outside the box", doing so I came up with the conclusion that Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway are the same person in a figurative sense and I am SO glad that someone else feels the same. I was starting to feel a tad daft.


Cynthia Interesting Matthew!


Matthew Williams Wow, okay, glad people find the idea relateable.


message 5: by Geoffrey (last edited Dec 12, 2012 08:53AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Geoffrey Yes, I agree with your central idea, but disagree with much of your analysis accompanying it.
Nick was hardly non-judgmental. He had an immediate take on the Wilson woman. He found her vulgar and common from the very beginning.

As for the metaphorical nature so thick you could cut a knife through it, I found the medicinal billboard to be so thick, I would describe its conception to be thickheaded on F`s part. What are we to make of this ridiculous imagery other than demonstrate Nick`s callous snobbery towards the Wilsons?


Stephen Whaley It's been a long time since I've read it, but I seem to remember thinking that myself.

Perhaps Nick represents the Fitzgerald's past and is the lens through which he's examining his own current lifestyle?


message 7: by Matthew (last edited Dec 12, 2012 02:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Matthew Williams Geoffrey wrote: "Yes, I agree with your central idea, but disagree with much of your analysis accompanying it.
Nick was hardly non-judgmental. He had an immediate take on the Wilson woman. He found her vulgar and c..."


Where does he judge Myrtle as being common and vulgar? I've read the book a few times now and don't recall any mention of that. If anything, he characterized her as attractive in a very sensual, albeit not necessarily classical way. Which was the whole point of her character, in that she did not possess the sort of fragile, innocent beauty that Daisy possessed (but which of course hid her true nature).

If anything, his sense of tolerance is the defining nature of his character. It's what allows him to get close to Jay Gatsby, to witness Tom cheating on his cousin, and to see how George is being deceived, and not storm off out of moral outrage. If he were snobbish or callous the story would have taken a much different course.

As for the billboard, the interpretations there vary. But none to my knowledge equate that with any snobbery or callousness on Nick's part, and I don't see how that could be interpreted. For one, George saw them as the eyes of God, which could be seen looking down on a moral wasteland. Or, seeing as how they are blue, which often symbolizes aristocracy in the story, they could be how Tom and his ilk view this ashen land which is slaved to New York's sense of opulence. The eyes are fading, which in turn could represent how they are coming to disregard this depository of their waste.

Who knows? But I don't see how this could be called thickheaded or interpreted so strongly. If anything, it seems vague and open to interpretation to me.


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