Examine the characterisation of Jay Gatsby as an admirable yet flawed character.

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Choose a novel in which a central character is flawed but remains an admirable figure.

Show how the writer makes you aware of these aspects of personality and discuss how this feature of characterisation enhances your appreciation of the text as a whole.

In your answer you must refer closely to the text and to at least two of: theme, structure, setting, symbolism, or any other appropriate feature.

Jay Gatsby, the eponymous hero of The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald is a flawed but admirable character.  Fitzgerald’s use of narrative technique, structure, symbolism and characterisation effectively convey Gatsby’s admirable qualities of loyalty, hope and determination whilst also making us aware of his tragic flaw which leads to his demise.  Gatsby’s main flaw is his inability to see reality which results in the failure of his dream.  Throughout the novel, Gatsby’s character embodies the ideals of the American Dream and the destruction of his dream symbolises the corruption of the American Dream.

The narrative technique created by Fitzgerald makes us aware of Gatsby’s admirable qualities and subsequently his flaw.  He employs the use of a first person narrator called Nick Carraway.  It is through Nick’s observations and consciousness that we interpret the character of Gatsby.  Nick introduces Gatsby as “exempt from my reaction – Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn” which immediately influences our judgement as Gatsby being someone special whom Nick makes exceptions to his normal contempt.  Nick admires his “extraordinary gift for hope” which emphasises Gatsby’s optimism and diligence to his dream that becomes apparent throughout the course of the novel.  The reader is made aware that Nick blames “what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams” for the events of the summer 1922 and not Gatsby for his tragic downfall.  Nick’s choice of words “preyed” and “foul” suggest he feels that Gatsby feel victim to the immoral, decadent people who surrounded Gatsby and destroyed his dream.  Nick reinforces his admiration of Gatsby in the closing lines of the novel where he marvels at Gatsby’s unwavering faith: “Gatsby believed in the green light” which highlights his devotion to following his dreams.  Thus Fitzgerald effectively uses narrative technique to shape our opinion of Gatsby and particularly convey his admirable qualities.

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Structurally, Fitzgerald builds a sense of mystery and tension surrounding Gatsby and his background.  Our first glimpse of Gatsby is at the end of Chapter 1 where Gatsby is seen by Nick as a lonely figure who “stretched out his arms towards the dark water” and a “green light”.  As the novel progresses we find out that the green light Gatsby enigmatically reaches for is Daisy’s dock across the water.  The significance of the green light is shown to be Gatsby’s dream of recreating the past and reigniting his romance with Daisy.  Nick observes that Gatsby was “trembling” which emphasises ...

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