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"Nick's main attitude to east coast society is fascination." How far, and in what ways do you agree with this statement?

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"Nick's main attitude to east coast society is fascination." How far, and in what ways do you agree with this statement? In "The Great Gatsby" the feelings of the main characters are often difficult to work out, and this ambiguity continues with the character of Nick. However, I believe that the feeling of "fascination" could be taken in two different ways - positive and negative. It could mean that Nick is enthralled and entranced wholly by what he sees, or fascinated in that he is amazed by how fake or shallow the people can be on the East Coast. Throughout the novel, Nick's thoughts and feelings change frequently, depending on the situation he is in and the people that he is with, and this is why it is difficult to try and establish what his main feeling is as it varies so much. I will look at the main points in the book where the East Coast society is clearly shown, and try to establish Nick's main attitude and how Fitzgerald presents his thoughts and feelings to us. One of the primary places where Fitzgerald displays the society to us is when Nick meets Tom and Daisy. When describing Daisy's voice, Nick words phrases such as "low, thrilling", and calls it an "exhilarating ripple". ...read more.


Again, Fitzgerald makes Nick's true feelings difficult to ascertain, as he puts in words into the description that are very ambiguous in their meaning. They make the reader unsure of Nick's truth in his words, as the way they are taken entirely depends on the individual reader's point of view. An example of this is the phrase "A bar with a real brass rail was set up". Here, the word "real" is what makes the reader unsure, as it could just be taken in the same way as everything else - Nick is describing everything in sight with detail and relish. However, it could also be taken as mocking, because "real" sounds as if Nick could be making fun of those people who care about and are truly fascinated by the authenticity of the brass rail. The first point of view, that this is genuine wonder from Nick, would contribute to the first interpretation of fascination, as it would demonstrate a real interest in the extravagance of the society that they would be able to afford and expect something like that. However I believe that the second point of view, the mockery, would also contribute to an attitude of fascination - but the second interpretation of the word; the meaning that involves Nick being fascinated by the shallowness and materialism of the people and the society in general. ...read more.


The way that Fitzgerald presents Nick also affects what we think his opinion is about East Coast society, because his personality affects how we take his reactions. Fitzgerald has presented Nick as a character who always looks for glamour in situations, and prefers to see the better side of things. This can be seen in the New York description, when he imagines that he is involved in the lives of the glamorous people around him. As a result of this personality we are given for Nick by Fitzgerald, personally I am more inclined to go with the interpretations that he is simply fascinated by what he sees of the culture in the East. In addition to this, we are told that Nick is very reserved with judgements, and this personality trait makes me think that Nick would therefore not be mocking and sarcastic so early on in the book - i.e. during the bits I have written about - which also makes me believe that most of his fascination is genuine. Overall, I would agree fairly strongly with the statement that Nick is mainly fascinated by East Coast society; however I think the type of fascination that he feels varies depending on the situation. I believe that he is fascinated in terms of the glamour of that world and also, at times, fascinated by how materialistic and shallow it appears to be. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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