Objectivity In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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In The Great Gatsby, author F. Scott Fitzgerald utilizes the subjectivity of narration to provide further insight into the characters of the story. Because the novel is told through a first-person point of view, objectivity is nearly impossible. That would require the narrator to disregard their personal feelings and opinions. Therefore, The Great Gatsby is a subjective narrative full of biased opinions about the lives of the wealthy in New York, during the roaring twenties. These opinions come from Nick Carraway, who is born into the upper class. He claims to be honest and holds himself to a moral standard that, in turn, causes him to pass critical judgement onto the actions of others. Nick’s reactions and descriptions of his experiences reveal …show more content…
By stating this in the beginning of the novel, Nick prompts the audience to keep in mind that his writing is not truly objective, and makes them consider the implications—that what he writes may not always be the truth. With that in mind, upon paying closer attention to Nick’s narration, the way he portrays other characters displays his bias. The one character that receives the majority of his harsh judgement is Tom Buchanan. The first time Nick describes Tom’s physical appearance, his disdain is apparent. He creates the picture of “...two shining arrogant eyes...”(7) and “...a cruel body...”(7) for the reader to imagine. Not only do these descriptions of Tom appear when Nick is directly talking about him; throughout the whole book, he places Tom in a similar light. When Tom meets Nick, Myrtle, and the McKees’ in an apartment, Nick still goes as far as to say that, “Tom looked at [Mr. McKee] blankly” (32). And Tom is also constantly portrayed as controlling, such as when “Tom carried [Wilson] into the office, set him down in a chair, and came back.”, and then said, “ ‘If somebody’ll come here and sit with him,’ he snapped authoritatively” (141). When describing Tom’s conversations, his expressions, and even his simplest actions, Nick exaggerates Tom’s masculinity and aggressiveness. Nick does this to match the opinions he has of Tom’s personality. Therefore, his bias causes him to tell not exactly lies, but a distorted truth. If Tom narrated The Great Gatsby, a reader would have seen him differently than how Nick portrayed him. So, when Nick stated in the beginning that “Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope” (2), he was using foreshadowing to warn about the limited truthfulness of his writing. In looking closely at Fitzgerald’s writing, a reader can detect hints

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