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The Remarkable Character Of Jay Gatsby

  • Date Submitted: 10/30/2012 10:03 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44.1 
  • Words: 654
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Jay Gatsby is one of the most interesting and memorable males in fictional literature, even though he is not a dynamic and changing character during the novel. In fact, Jay Gatsby has changed little since he was a teenager. Born as James Gatz to poor farmers in North Dakota, he decided at an early age that he wanted more out of life than North Dakota could offer. He leaves home to find excitement and wealth. While lounging on the beach one day, he sees a yacht docked off the coast. He borrows a boat and rows out to introduce himself to the owner of the yacht. Dan Cody is an extremely wealthy and wildly extravagant man. He takes a liking to young James Gatz and offers him a job. When the boy boards the boat to become Cody’s assistant and protector, he leaves behind the identity of James Gatz forever; the rest of his life he will be known as Jay Gatsby, an incurable and idealistic romantic who fills his life with dreams.
Fitzgerald delays the introduction of most of this information until fairly late in the novel. Gatsby’s reputation precedes him—Gatsby himself does not appear in a speaking role until Chapter 3. Fitzgerald initially presents Gatsby as the aloof, enigmatic host of the unbelievable parties thrown every week at his mansion. He appears surrounded by spectacular luxury, courted by powerful men and beautiful women. He is the subject of a whirlwind of gossip throughout New York and is already a kind of legendary celebrity before he is ever introduced to the reader. Fitzgerald propels the novel forward through the early chapters by shrouding Gatsby’s background and the source of his wealth in mystery (the reader learns about Gatsby’s childhood in Chapter 6 and receives definitive proof of his criminal dealings in Chapter 7). As a result, the reader’s first, distant impressions of Gatsby strike quite a different note from that of the lovesick, naive young man who emerges during the later part of the novel.
Fitzgerald uses this technique of delayed character...

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