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Realism In The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has been labeled a masterpiece, and perhaps even one of the greatest novels of all time. In order to be revered as a classic, a novel must have one or more qualities that place it above the rest. One of The Great Gatsby’s best qualities is Fitzgerald’s incredible use of realism. This realism is evident in the development of plot, setting, and characters throughout the novel. The Great Gatsby is well known for its deeply entangled plots and sub-plots. At first Fitzgerald used realism to develop these plots by choosing plots that would be believable to readers.

For example, the main plot of “The American Dream” (Jay Gatsby’s dream of becoming rich and successful in order to impress Daisy) is easily believable and is still a quite common dream today. Smaller plots, such as Tom Buchanans affair with Myrtle, are also very realistic and are a common occurrence in every day life. From here Fitzgerald deepened the story by using realism to entangle these plots. Fitzgerald then grew apon these plots by making them all have realistic outcomes (such as Gatsby’s demise), rather than your typical story book endings.

It is mostly thanks to Fitzgerald’s descriptive, poetic style of writing that allows him to realistically portray the many plots of The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald’s realistic construction and development of plot is extremely dependent upon the setting of the novel in which it take place. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses realism to clearly depict the setting of the Great Gatsby. This incredible use of realism could be mostly due to the fact that Fitzgerald lived during the time of the novel, and by using great detail, he was able to reproduce his interpretation of the 1920’s.

At this time the Great War (WW1) had just ended and the United States was becoming as dominant world power. The novel takes place during the summer in New York as Nick Carraway has just moved to pursue a career in the bond business. This is a very realistic setting because just after World War 1 the eastern United States were flourishing with people and business. As depicted in The Great Gatsby, during the 1920’s jazz music was all the rage. Large, fancy homes and big parties (such as Gatsby’s) were also quite popular.

Fitzgerald realistically demonstrates the inexistence of the middle class at that time. For example the contrast between Tom Buchanan and Mr. Wilson shows vast difference between the upper and lower classes. The exact geographical location of the novel does not exist, but Fitzgerald does a great job in using realism to convince the reader of the setting. No matter how significant realism is to the setting of The Great Gatsby, perhaps the most important use of realism comes through Fitzgerald’s development of characters throughout the novel.

In the Great Gatsby, as in any novel, the characters are the basis of the novel from which the plots revolve around. Fitzgerald uses realism to ensure that all the characters in the novel are believable in both their history and interactions with each other. A prime example of this would be Daisy. Her history of having a successful family, and being the center of attention deeply influences her character into being self-centered and dependent on wealth, making her character believable to readers.

From here Fitzgerald was able to manipulate the characters This convinces the reader of authenticity of each individual and therefore makes the whole story seem more realistic. Throughout the novel plot was deepened through the entangling of many realistic sub-plots, setting was clearly illustrated using plenty of detail, and the characters were developed to be as believable and genuine as possible. In the end it is the realistic recognition of life’s imperfections that give The Great Gatsby its continuing appeal.

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