Critically Analysing The Great Gatsby

Critically Analysing The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby is a tough text, and on first reading can be disorienting. Researching the 1920’s is a good starting point before you read the book, as the text is such a prolific example of the period. The characters drive this text, and the themes represent their desires based on Critically Analysing The Great Gatsby.

Text and Context

The context of this text for Critically Analysing The Great Gatsby is probably your central focus, and will require you to know the period. Understanding the values of the ‘Lost Generation’ especially is crucial. From there, focus on the culture of the age and its separation from ‘tradition’ in Western society.

Language and Style

The language and prose style of Fitzgerald about Critically Analysing The Great Gatsby is quite poetic in approach, and reads more like a short story. There is a lot of focus on minute details and sensory language. It is a text that attempts to bring the period to ‘life’ rather than represent it figuratively.

Themes

  • Wealth
  • Status
  • Pursuit of Happiness
  • Ignorance
  • Integrity
  • Love
  • Gender and Feminism
  • Materialism

Characters

Your main focus for Critically Analysing The Great Gatsby obviously will be the four main characters: Carraway, Gatsby and Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Each can be broadly characterised as individuals who are obsessed with the pursuit of personal desires. Each uses their wealth and status as a means of elevating their own position, and to get the things they desire in life. Ultimately, despite fleeting achievements, none of them get what they desire. One could argue that despite their material wealth, their lives are empty.

Representation

The Great Gatsby is a representation of the idea of the American Dream – of prosperity and happiness. Yet, it is also a challenge to the American Dream. It represents the dream both optimistically and cynically –Carraway’s narration shifts from the former to the latter through the text.