Identifying a hero in "The Great Gatsby" The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Small Island".

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“In a narrative, there is usually a hero or heroine, a protagonist on whose fate the readers’ interest in the story principally rests”

A protagonist is a leading character. In the texts I have studied, there are often a characters which the reader are encourages to be drawn towards. We are endeared to them and the story is often focused around them. In The Great Gatsby, even the title encourages the reader to feel that the story is about his character, especially as Nick’s accounts are designed to be in order to recover the truth about Gatsby. It is important to note that even though Nick is the one telling the story, his character is presented as a first person modified narrator. It is often the case when the voice of the text is also the main focus/hero of the text, however in this case Nick is merely an onlooker. As readers, Fitzgerald presents Nick as being in awe of Gatsby “he had an extraordinary sense of hope” and appears to look favourably upon him. Due to this fact, Gatsby is seen as somewhat of a hero and is the main interest and focus of the story. The whole text is mainly based around Gatsby and the period in which Nick’s character knew him. Even before meeting him as a person, the readers are given clues upon him, mostly rumours “we heard it from three people, so it must be true”, which play a key part in the story. These rumours “he once killed a man who found out he was nephew to Von Hinderburg and second to the devil” build up a mental image in the readers’ minds which encourage us to want to find out more. Even in Chapter 1 where we meet Daisy and Tom’s characters, Fitzgerald may be framing the picture for his readers for us to understand more about Gatsby as a character, as well as his future lover, Daisy, and why she is the reason that his character has changed the way he lives. Nick says “he felt married to her, that was all”, which shows his absolute obsession with her. Throughout the text, the readers’ are encouraged to think back to Gatsby’s character, relating him to other characters and our feelings are swayed by Gatsby’s fate.

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Just like in The Great Gatsby, Coleridge also places the main protagonist into the title. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner gives the readers the immediate knowledge of what the poem is going to be about the Mariner. Having the word ‘ancient’ gives the sense that there is something mystical about the Mariner, as well as being old. The fact that Coleridge decides to use the word “rime” instead of the modern writing of “rhyme” also adds to this effect. Despite hearing numerous voices throughout the poem, such as the Wedding Guest, 'Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!', ...

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