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With reference to critical assessments and different readings of the novel such as the ones below discuss the presentation of Gatsby and how readers might evaluate the central character and his dream.

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Introduction

With reference to critical assessments and different readings of the novel such as the ones below discuss the presentation of Gatsby and how readers might evaluate the central character and his dream. When discussing the presentation of Mr Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald's novel it is important to look at the views of all of the characters as well as those of critics and readers. Gatsby's name precedes him in the novel and the readers and Nick himself are not introduced to the title character until chapter 3. Although Nick believes that he has a sighting of Gatsby at the end of the first chapter, an actual meeting does not yet occur. At this point however Nick has already created his own image of Gatsby based on the small amount of information that he has received from Jordan Baker. As this is the only opinion we have to base our own on at this point, as readers we are inclined to agree with Nick that Gatsby is a very rich and dominant man with more power than sense, "...come out to determine what share was his of our local heavens." ...read more.

Middle

This can be linked with his criminal affairs. On the day that Gatsby and Nick take lunch in New York they must drive past these all-seeing eyes to reach their destination. During this trip Gatsby shows some signs of his criminal connections, firstly when stopped by a police officer. It appears to Nick that Gatsby must once have been able to do a favour for either this particular man or the police as a whole unit as after simply flashing an unknown white card he is allowed to continue on his way. Then once they reach New York and sit down to lunch Nick is introduced to Mr Wolfshiem, who he learns apparently fixed the 1919 World Series. Also Mr Wolfshiem mistakes Nick for someone else, "I understand you're looking for a business gonnegtion (connection)." and Gatsby must put him straight, which shows some indication of criminal activity and connections. These 3 fairly obvious acts of criminal business show that Gatsby could perhaps actually be "...a boor, a roughneck, a fraud, a criminal. His taste is vulgar, his behaviour ostentatious, his love adolescent, his business dealings ruthless and dishonest."2 Also Nick notices a change in Gatsby on this journey out of town. ...read more.

Conclusion

He appreciates how hard Gatsby must've worked to reach his dream and leave behind his past, even if that did mean keeping some dark secrets and playing a hand in some dodgy dealings. He respects Gatsby for the amount of work and strife he must have gone through to reach this point of almost happiness. Also by this point we cannot help but feel sympathetic for Gatsby as the only thing missing from his ideal life was Daisy, and in the end he never won her back. Overall I feel that as readers we are inclined to feel at least some sort of sympathy with his situation and in some ways be fascinated by his character and the way in which he lives. Emotionally he is a complex man however mentally he seems to be quite simple. He doesn't understand why it's so hard for Daisy to return to him and leave her husband, as far as he is concerned it's a simple thing to ask. This is the high price paid for "living too long with a single dream". 1 Stephen Matterson 2 edited version of comment by Scrimgeour 3 York Notes Advanced Abigail Wilkes 13W ...read more.

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