- Describe three key characters and explain how they change throughout the novel.
- Jay Gatsby.
Jay Gatsby is a very controversial character in the book The Great Gatsby. He has either spread or allowed the spread of many lies about himself, around where he is from, how he got his money and a lot of his everyday life. From all the lies surrounding him, Gatsby almost believes he’s invincible, which leads to him not caring about the people he hurts, but maintaining his ‘idealistic’ figure. An example of this is when Nick Carraway, the narrator, first arrives at one of Gatsby’s astonishing parties with a personal invite, and after inquiring about Gatsby he falls into a conversation about who Gatsby really is with Jordan, two girls and three ‘Mr. Mumbles. The conversation goes “Gatsby. Somebody told me −.” The two girls and Jordan leaned together confidentially. “Somebody told me they thought he killed a man once.” A thrill passed over all of us. The three Mr Mumbles bent forward and listened eagerly. “I don’t think it’s so much that,” argued Lucille sceptically; “it’s more that he was a German spy during the war.” One of the men nodded in confirmation.” Throughout the story, we never find out the true story of Gatsby’s life, but near the end of the novel, Nick tells us of Gatsby’s early childhood where he grew up with his mother and father very poor in North Dakota. He ran from his family and changed his name to Jay Gatsby. He then made his fortunes by bootlegging, which was in demand as alcohol was illegal in the 1920s. It is now thought that Gatsby allowed the lies about him spread because his true beginnings would not support his mysterious, powerful status he is trying to possess.
Five years before the story begins, Gatsby and Daisy fell in love, which cold early be mistaken for lust as the night they met they fell in bed together. Gatsby then went off to the military and had lost contact with daisy until she started sending him letters frequently, but for an unstated reason, he did not reply to any. A few years later Gatsby purchased a very large mansion in West Egg, Long Island, directly across the bay from Daisy’s house. This was not a coincidence; Gatsby is thought to have bought the hose, thrown the parties and carried out many other controversial actions in the hope to get Daisy’s attention so they could reconnect and start a ‘prefect’ life with her. Gatsby has planned the life he wants to carry out with Daisy, and throughout the whole novel he can not grasp the fact, it is impossible to act like the five years he was away can be forgotten. Gatsby wants to be the only ‘man’ in Daisy’s life, and want to be the only one Daisy loves which too much for Daisy to commit too as shown in the Plaza Hotel. “Oh, you want too much!’’
In conclusion, Gatsby hid his true self and allowed the spread of rumours leading to his mysterious illusion.
B. Daisy Buchanan
In my opinion, Daisy’s character is very layered. She appears very transparent at the beginning and the ‘dumb blond’ in the novel which is also how women were looked at in the 1920’s. But throughout the story Daisy appears to have more power and knowledge than she lets on. For example when she talks about her daughter, ‘…I hope she’ll be a fool…a beautiful little fool’. This is where I see Daisy allowing Nick to see a little more into her ideas. She clearly know’s that she is not being treated right, or that there is a lot of wrong in the world; now she wants her baby to not experience the same problem Daisy could have faced. Another example is when she allows Gatsby to take the blame for running over Myrtle. She knows its best for her and her family, even though it will hurt someone she loves. Even though Daisy ignores many things, and comes across very ‘stupid’ to me she could hold a lot more ideas than she lets on. Towards the end of the novel Daisy knows its best for her to ‘disappear’ and come out of the spotlight, and just like a lot of the powerful and rich people were looked at in the novel they “smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness…and let other people clean up the mess they had made”.
C) Tom Buchanan