The Great Gatsby.
Historical elements to the novel:
- The American Dream is a vital importance throughout the novel of Gatsby. The American Dream is shown to evoke 'fulfilment of human wishes and desires'. This is shown through Gatsby himself, we are aware that at a young age Gatsby was very mature and was extremely organised, his father was perhaps pressuring and wanted him to be successful and wealthy. Gatsby had achieved those things. Gatsby himself is a symbol of 'new money', he is new to the system due to Daisy naming him a 'poor boy' in the past. Although the tragedy within Gatsby's dream is that we realise he is only rich and successful because he wanted Daisy for his own and this never happens. The American Dream could be criticised in this novel for giving each character false hope, which many of the characters recieve in the end. For example, Gatsby's death, it was not only the death of a character himself, but a death of the American Dream and a classic example of how the American Dream dies.
The Language of the novel:
- At the beginning of the novel we learn that the narrative voice is Nick Carraway's. Right at the beginning we learn that he is giving the audience an insight into his life, "in my younger and more vulnerable years". We learn almost immediately that he came from a somewhat wealthy background, "haven't had the advantages you've had". Continuing on page 2 there's a narrative shift from the subject of Nick's background to the subject of Gatsby. He introduces Gatsby like some mythical creature, "Only Gatsby, the man who gives his name to this book", he introduces Gatsby as a somewhat epic and dramatic introduction. There is a somewhat highly romanticsed language that Nick uses, calling him "gorgeous".
- Then there is a narrative shift from the subject of Gatsby straight back to Nick's past again. We learn that Nick's family were a somewhat pretentious bunch, "we're descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather's brother".
We learn from the narrative that Nick is an extremely descriptive character. He describes Tom Buchanan as having a "hard mouth" and "arrogant eyes" and "a cruel body". This immediately gives us a negative impression of Tom through Nick's opinions.