Literature by definition may consist of texts based on factual information (journalistic or non-fiction), as well as on original imagination, such as polemical works as well as autobiography, and reflective essays as well as belles-lettres. The Great Gatsby has the following particular characteristics of a literary texts: The first literary element of the novel is the plot, the protagonist is Jay Gatsby, a young, wealthy man in love with a society girl from his past. He tries to build a life with her but fate and bad luck turn tragic.
The next key element is the theme, Fitzgerald demonstrates many themes including the decline of the American dream. The American dream was originally about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness. In the 1920s depicted in the novel, however, easy money and relaxed social values have corrupted this dream, especially on the East Coast. A second important theme of the novel would be the hollowness of the upper class, the sociology of wealth, specifically, how the newly minted millionaires of the 1920s differ from and relate to the old aristocracy of the country’s richest families.
What the old aristocracy possesses in taste, however, it seems to lack in heart, as the East Eggers prove themselves careless, inconsiderate bullies who are so used to money’s ability to ease their minds that they never worry about hurting others. The presence of characters is also a characteristic of the literary texts. In The Great Gatsby we have Jay Gatsby the main character an ambitious dreamer searching desperately to repeat the past in a different context.
Nick Carraway a young graduate from Yale which aspires to be a writer who is irresistibly attracted by the lifestyle of richness, opulence and extravagance but ends up being a supporter and admirer of Gatsby’s morals and values. Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s cousin and the object of the main character’s affection a careless, beautiful society girl with warm, fascinating gestures. Tom Buchanan is Daisy’s husband and the son of and immensely wealthy and socially solid family, a man without morals who can and will do anything to get what he wants.
Among the other characters of he book we can find Jordan Baker, Myrtle and George Wilson and Meyer Wolfsheim. The setting of the novel takes place right after The Great War in the 1920s mostly in East and West Egg but also in New York. The major conflict is the fact that Daisy’s refuses Gatsby despite the vast fortune he has collected for her because of his unclear past. The climax of the book the confrontation between Tom and Jay is in chapter 7 and takes place at the Plaza Hotel in New York. The narrative voice of the novel is Nick which tells the story in the first person because he is part of it too.
The mood is largely dark, pessimistic, and vapid as set by the purposelessness and carelessness of the wealthy, the ongoing string of meaningless parties, the ugliness of the Valley of Ashes, and the tragic deaths of Gatsby and Myrtle. Only Nick Carraway’s honest and moral view of life breaks the sense of tragedy. Among the literary techniques use in the novel we can recognize the following: The presence of the direct and indirect characterization made by the narrator and deducted from the characters’ gestures and attitudes, the dialogue, the foreshadowing technique is also present through the mysterious calls Gatsby receives.
Most important all types of irony are present in the text, verbal irony is present in the conflicts between Tom and Gatsby, situational irony, when Daisy ends up killing Tom’s mistress by accidentally running over her with Jay’s car and dramatic irony, when George Wilson murders Gatsby because he assumes Gatsby was the wealthy man his wife, Myrle, was having an affair with. Considering all the above, The Great Gatsby by Scott F. Fitzgerald is a modernist novel based on the reality of the post war 1920s, inspired from the authors’ life which satisfies all the requirements in order to be called a literary work.
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