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Explore How Fitzgerald Presents The Buchanans And Their World In Chapter 1 Of ‘The Great Gatsby’ Through The Narration Of Nick Caraway. To What Extent Can You Understand His Feelings Of Confusion And Disgust?

1375 words - 6 pages

The first chapter of The Great Gatsby sees Nick Carraway attend dinner with the Buchanan’s having moved to New York recently from his mid western respectable country home. Fitzgerald constructs his character as a well spoken yet slightly snobbish young man who is “inclined to reserve all judgements”. However Fitzgerald presents Nick as an unreliable narrator, reflecting upon the events in the book remarking and judging all the other characters and their actions making Nick as bias as the rest of the Fitzgerald’s constructs. Therefore the reader is exposed to the post First World War America through Nicks bias eyes. The boundaries, rules and attitudes of Americans at this time were in change, ...view middle of the document...

Daisy is on one hand described very beautifully and pure wearing white, looking like they had had “a short flight around the house”, this imagery hinting that Daisy posses some angelic qualities. However there is another side to her, Nick feels her “basic insecurity” making Nick feel as if she believes she belongs to “a rather distinguished secret society”.

Tom Buchanan is a primary source of disgust for Nick, Fitzgerald presents him as a brutal character with “a cruel body” and a “supercilious manner”. Tom is seen to constantly interrupt both Daisy and Jordan Baker, something that would be unacceptable for Nick having been brought up in a respectable middle class family from the country. Tom is dismissive of his wife, racist and rude; “‘very romantic’ he said” when asked a question by Daisy - the reply merely being to satisfying her. Tom thinks that only the white - “dominant race” have produced ‘the things that go to make civilisation.” Nick is undermined by Tom whilst discussing the bond business Nick has so recently joined, “‘Never heard of them.’ Tom said decisively”. This attitude that Tom possesses not only would put both the reader and Nick Carraway off him, but his obvious affair is a major cause of concern for Nick. “Tom’s got some women in New York”, not only does Nick feel like he should ‘phone the police’ but thinks the thing for Daisy to do would be “rush out of the house child in arms”. This presentation of Tom within the first chapter is unpleasant and any reader could share Nicks dislike of Tom.

The relationship between Daisy and Tom is a very functional one, without any obvious love. Both Tom and Daisy know that Tom is having an affair but neither of them seem to be doing anything about it - Daisy “has no such intentions” to leave Tom and Tom has no intentions of ending his relationship with the lady “in New York”. Despite this rift within their relationship with Daisy feeling “abandoned” Daisy enjoys her status within the world, being a trophy wife so that she will carry on going “everywhere” and seeing and doing “everything”. This could be another source of why Nick is “disgusted”, seeing how Daisy is willing to sacrifice her happiness for the title of “Buchanan” merely for the established wealthy background. The Buchanan’s who seemingly have stability within their marriage and position lack grounding. They are constructed by Fitzgerald as drifters; “they have spent a year in France for no reason, and then drifted here and there unrestfully” with Nick feelings like “Tom could drift on, for ever”. This charade of being a power couple yet underneath being unhappy and never being able to ground themselves leads to a confusion, especially for Nick who has grown up in a family that respects all family members and carries on the family business generation after generation.

The relationship of Tom and Daisy Buchanan is reflected in their home. The Buchanan house on the outside is everything that Tom and Daisy represent...

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