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How far and in what way does your reading of the novel support Toms view of Gatsby? A common swindler I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him.

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Introduction

How far and in what way does your reading of the novel support Tom's view of Gatsby? "A common swindler... I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him". Gatsby is initially portrayed as a mysterious, romanticised character of great wealth. He is displayed as being ostentatious however no one appears to know anything about him, only rumours, "I heard he killed a man." Gatsby assumes everyone knows who he is. He holds company of friviolous, shallow people during his decadent parties; he however shows a certain gravitas unlike the other people at his parties. Nick warms to Gatsby immediately, his "smile of understanding" makes Nick feel at ease, Fitzgerald shows that he is not as vaccous as everyone else, in this respect he juxtaposes Tom for whom he eventually competes with for Daisy's love. Gatsby's lexicon is unusual; he uses atypical English colloquial terms such as "Old Sport" which makes the reader question whether he is genuine or not. ...read more.

Middle

When Gatsby achieves this he is still incomplete and his avarice and materialism is useless, the decadence that Gatsby symbolises can never bring him happiness. It is through this materialism and greed that Myrtle is killed, she represents the victim or prey of the American Dream. The statement by Tom is supported to some extent by who Gatsby associates himself with, such as questionable characters like Meyer Wolfsheim who are indicatively mob-like, who was even reported to have fixed the World Series in 1919, the criminal activities told by Gatsby is shown of in admiration or respect, subsequently Gatsby may be a criminal however it is indisputable that he regards himself as a higher form of criminal, an elitist much like that of Tom. It is only for his desire to be able to match Daisy's expectations of wealth and luxury that he does this however the reader may fail to sympathise with him as it is morally ambiguous for him to do this. ...read more.

Conclusion

I believe to some extent that Gatsby is a "common swindler", he advocates his politeness and sense of importance and class however is association with crime means that other characters stereotype him as someone from the lower social strata. Gatsby is disillusioned to this and thinks he is exempt to such insults where as Daisy's and some other character's arrogance and derogatory opinion of Gatsby makes Gatsby a common swindler to the people within 'The Great Gatsby' however to the opinion of the reader he is a more honest and likeable character than Tom. In my opinion I believe that Tom's description of Gatsby as a common swindler is a sectarian view, it is clear that Gatsby is not just a common criminal, in that the crime that is suggested is not just petty theft and he is at least an affable character for which the reader and Nick can to some degree empathise with. ...read more.

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