By Aditya Mynampaty, V Form
Fitzgerald Deviates from Manichaean Plots with Gatsby
Editors’ Note: In Mr. Eslick’s American Literature class, the students write paragraphs of 300 words or less at the end of each week. The aim is to work toward a thesis for a full essay.
The Great Gatsby lacks a protagonist and an antagonist: an unusual trait for a book. F. Scott Fitzgerald deviates from the standard, Manichaean plots found in most novels to demonstrate the absence of any pure good or evil people in America. The closest character The Great Gatsby has to a protagonist is the narrator, Nick, but no character in the novel is villainized or pitted against him. Fitzgerald creates characters like Gatsby, who collaborates with gamblers and match-fixers, Tom, who cheats on his wife, and Daisy, who runs over and kills a woman. Nick, however, never speaks ill of these flawed people. His unbiased narration style makes it hard to form strong feelings for characters and difficult to root for or against anyone. Even though Gatsby is the epitome of the American Dream, having worked his way to wealth from nothing, Nick never praises him. By preventing his audience from forming opinions about the characters, Fitzgerald communicates the large gray area in American personalities. There are not any virtuous or immoral people; there are Americans.
Aditya Mynampaty is a V Form day student from Southborough, MA. He likes watching football, playing sports, and traveling.