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The Admirable and Despicable Characters in The Great Gatsby

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There are many popular compositions from the past that are in that specific time period, then are forgotten about. However, some novels are popular generation after generation. Francis Scott Fitzgerald is recognized as one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. One of his most popular works is The Great Gatsby. This characters in The Great Gatsby will analyze how the character of each person is demonstrated through action in the face of prosperity. It is very evident which characters are the most admirable and which are despicable.

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An admirable character in the novel is the narrator, Nick Carraway. In the beginning, Nick has always been an outcast that is seen as more practical and has integrity. As the story progresses, Nick’s character lossens up a bit due to the fact that he is surrounded by chaos watching the people around him chasing the American Dream. Nick has always been a neutral character by being a confidant, being loyal and by keeping his judgements to himself. Nick is the only character who volunteered to be Gatsby’s friend, offering him advice about Daisy. One of Nick’s best character traits is that he tends to pick out the best in people, even if they are feigned. This is evident when he befriends Gatsby. After Gatsby takes a trip down memory lane discussing his past with Nick, Nick says, “They’re a rotten crowd. You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together”. This part in the novel demonstrated how Nick thought Gatsby was a good person, regardless of the people around him.

One of the most despicable characters in the novel is Daisy Buchanan. Daisy seems to only do things that are convenient for herself. She is a very manipulative character, which she tries to hide by playing the innocent girl. The only character who sees right through that is her cousin, Nick Carraway. It is a shame for the characters who do not see through it, such as Gatsby. Daisy always knew Gatsby was in love with her, which is why it is so easy for her to take advantage of him. She knows that Jay would do anything and everything for her. When they reunite after 5 years, Gatsby is suddenly financially stable and he thinks the way to win her back is to flaunt his wealthy lifestyle. Daisy “forces” Gatsby to get close to her by having an emotional affair with him, uses him and takes almost everything away from him, goes back to Tom, then she is responsible for his death. Even her own cousin, Nick no longer believes she is a good hearted person. After Daisy and Tom flee West Egg, Nick shows he is distraught, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…”. Figuratively speaking, the “things and creatures” Tom and Daisy smash up in the novel is Gatsby’s life. Literally speaking, Tom and Daisy smash up Gatsby’s car and Myrtle. Daisy plays a big role in the ending due to the fact that if she chose Gatsby or herself over Tom, the circumstances would be different.

Jay Gatsby is a despicable character due to the fact that all of his motives are for himself. He starts to demonstrate this when he befriends Nick, Daisy’s cousin. Nick gets an invitation to one of Gatsby’s parties. Nick attends only to be approached by Jordan Baker telling him that Gatsby wants to know if Nick will invite Daisy to his house so Jay can come over. When Daisy is over, Gatsby “coincidentally” was knocking on Nick’s door. Gatsby visits with Nick and Daisy for a little while until he invites both of them to show off his wealth to Daisy in the hopes she will love him again. Most of the novel, Nick and Gatsby really only talk about Daisy, making their friendship artificial. Near the end of the novel, Daisy, Nick, Gatsby, Tom and Jordan go to the Plaza Hotel. When they are there, there is some turmoil brews. Gatsby is ruining his own life trying to get Daisy back, including Tom’s as well. Gatsby does not care what he has to do, even if that means ripping a family apart, to relive the past. Gatsby tells Tom, “She never loved you, do you hear? She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me. It was a terrible mistake, but in her heart she never loved anyone except me!”. At this point, Gatsby shows his true colours by hurting people in the process of getting what he wants.

Tom Buchanan is another despicable character. At the very beginning of the novel, Tom is planning to meet him mistress, Myrtle Wilson, with Nick. Right away, Tom shows lack of respect for his own wife. Tom keeps his mistress a secret for a while, revealing that he is a coward not to end his marriage. When Myrtle and Tom get into an argument about Daisy, Tom hits Myrtle and breaks her nose. This reveals that Tom thinks he can do whatever he wants, whether that means cheating on his wife and hitting his mistress. Tom does not pay much attention to Daisy until he finds out Gatsby loves her. Tom tries to defend himself by insulting Daisy, “The trouble is that sometimes she gets foolish ideas in her head and doesn’t know what she’s going”. Tom also implies that he himself is a racist based on the books he reads, “This fellow has worked out the whole thing. It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things”. This is evidence that Tom is arrogant, thinks he is superior and thinks he thinks he is entitled to do anything he so pleases. Not to mention, Tom is also the character who told George Wilson that Gatsby was the one who killed his wife, knowing that Gatsby would get killed.

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In conclusion, from this essay it is evident which characters are admirable and which ones are despicable shown through their actions. Each character shows their strengths and weaknesses that lead to each of their individual downfalls. The American Dream was intended to improve life, not do the exact opposite.

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