The movie created by David Merrick as well as the novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, both entitled The Great Gatsby, ate truly two fine pieces of art. The movie version shows the viewer what is happening in the story without internal comments from the narrator and the viewer can understand exactly what is happening without any intellectual thought involved. The novel, however, challenges the reader to look deep inside the writing in order to grasp the true effect of the novel and what kind of meaning is being portrayed.
The novel also challenges the readers creativity and imagination. It lets the reader explore the characters personalities in their own special way and the reader can relate these personalities to real life. The novel also allows the reader more freedom that the move, in the way that it lets the reader shape their own opinions of the different characters. As a person watches the movie version, all the characters are laid out for them and every detail of the character is seen, yet in the novel the character is described fully and it is up to the readers imagination to picture what the character looks like as well as the emotions conveyed by this character in the novel. The novel version of The Great Gatsby is a definite piece of art and clearly challenges the reader both intellectually and imaginatively to understand the words that describe the character accurately. Therefore the novel
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is still the best representation of the Romantic Hero and his American Dream, despite efforts by interpreters like David Merrick in his film version to “usurp” it, for the author challenges the readers imagination through his brilliant narrative technique, unforgettable characterization, and use of symbolism, so that Gatsbys experience becomes everyones.
The novel is told in the perspective of a single character, Nick Carraway. Nick is an innocent and simplistic character and when the story is conveyed through this type of character it usually is told truly, and without any outside influence from the other characters in the plot. Nicks telling of the story is taken from his first hand accounts on how he sees the story unfold, straightforward and in the order that it occurs without confusion. Nick is a very moralistic man and his morals, and also his values, are positively genuine. His heart is filled with compassion, especially for Gatsby and the events that surrounded Gatsbys death as he was one of three people that were at this great mans funeral.
This genuine, yet critical, character is seen through his narration because he tells the story with his own comments of how he views, with the help of his morals and values, the different characters. For example, when he describes Tom Buchanans speech about is own family, ” Nowadays, people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions, and next theyll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white.” (Fitzgerald, 130) Nicks narrative reply to this comment simply shows how Nicks thoughts can become the readers after he simply describes this statement as, “impassioned gibberish”, (Fitzgerald, 130). The reader can be persuaded to view the character exactly how Nick sees them.
However it can have an opposite effect and the reader may see the characters differently as they look back at the reading, and see Tom Buchanan as a man that has not been taught any better than to make simple “indiscretions” and he simply loves his wife and wants life to get back to normal. Through the narration, the reader can develop these different opinions of Tom, yet in the movie the viewer simply sees what is happening and does not get the true emotions of what is happening, and lack the insight put in by the narration in the novel. Also, the viewer of the movie does not get the true history the film version as in the novel. In the novel the mysterious, yet descriptive past is told by Gatsby to Nick and in the film version it is not as descriptive and the viewers are certainly not imagining it for themselves as expressively as they would if reading the novel. Nick is a very well written narrator and through his innocence and values he proves to be also a very simplistic character and also a great choice for a narrator.
The characters in both the film and the novel are very complex as well as very well written/acted out. All the characters have very definite roles in the story line and in turn have definite roles in the outcome of the story. The novel version is clearly the more superior in the way that it describes and sets up the character and allows the reader to see deep into what the character life and emotions really revolve around. This is done by Fitzgerald magnificently through characterization. When reading the novel it is discovered that the characters are not always what they seem to be. For example, Daisy is seen as a superficial, shallow, and snobbish individual that is only concerned with reputations and materialistic things in the world. It is slowly shown throughout the novel that this is an incorrect interpretation of Daisy.
This exterior of superiority is just a front that has been put there because she has been hurt so many times by love that she need a superficial front so it can shield her from any other heartache. This is demonstrated in the scene where she tells her cousin, Nick, that she wants her daughter to be a, “beautiful little fool”, (Fitzgerald 17) . The reason for this declaration is because she wants her daughter, Pammy, to be a fool so she cannot be hurt by love, ad did her mother by Gatsby and Tom, both. When watching the film version of this scene, the viewer does not get this effect because the words in the novel look deep into each character for any unknown emotions as well as the history surrounding the character. This history also has effect on the characters emotions in the present, as seen in Daisy as well as Jay Gatsby. Through this characterization of each of the characters it is made intellectually and imaginatively more beneficial to read and understand the novel than to simply watch the movie.
Symbolism is very effective in a novel. This is demonstrated in the novel The Great Gatsby very efficiently. The novel is filled with symbolism. From what the characters wear, their possessions, the places they live in and even the music that is playing and the mood they represent, symbolism is very easily used. When reading the novel, the reader can take these objects and look deep into them and find a completely story behind the symbol, For example, Daisys clothing. The white color that Daisy wears almost always can represent her innocence as a character as well as her purity. On the other hand, this can also represent her blank and colorless soul which lacks substance. When watching the movie the viewer may not grasp this concept of symbolism as easily, or as effusively as in the novel because in the novel the description is thorough and the text is clear. Also, when reading the novel it is easier to identify symbolism because the reading can be taken slower and is appreciated more than in the movie where it is seen at the pace of the director, not the viewer. Therefore. The novel is the superior piece of art, enabling the reader to experience The Great Gatsby on more of an intellectual basis rather than simply a piece of entertainment.
As both the novel and the movie version of The Great Gatsby are wonderful interpretations of a well written story line from the 1920s, it can be clearly seen that the novel is a much better representation of the Romantic Hero and his American Dream. Through the amazing use of writing mechanisms such as narrative technique, characterization, and symbolism, F. Scott Fitzgerald has simply made the best version of The Great Gatsby, and definitely stimulated the imaginative and intellectual parts of the readers mind. Through the novel, the reader can get a better grasp of what really happened and imagine it as if the reader was really there, participating with the narrator Nick Carraway, and not simply watching the movie version on television, letting the film think for the reader. For all these reasons, and many more, it is obvious that the novel version is the more superior piece of art compared to the movie, stimulating imagination, creativity, emotion and intellect throughout the reading and interpretation of the storys events.