The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Characterising Gatsby
We see Gatsby through Nick’s perspective and this necessarily clouds our understanding of his
character. You are going to work in groups to pull together various aspects of Gatsby’s character,
with support for your ideas from the text, so that we can make some analysis of how Fitzgerald
presents Gatsby through Nick’s eyes.
To begin with, how does Fitzgerald shape the narrative of the text to suggest to us that Gatsby
is important? Think about the decisions made regarding the sequence of events in the story
and the title.
Now think back over the ways in which an author can present a character to us and construct
and complete a table like the one below.
Does it apply to the
characterisation of Gatsby
in The Great Gatsby?
What does Fitzgerald suggest about
Gatsby using this technique?
How the character is
The character’s
The character’s speech
The character’s actions
The character’s motivation
What the character thinks
What others say about the
What others think about
the character
Now think about Nick and how Fitzgerald uses his character to present Gatsby. Make notes
a) what Nick admires about Gatsby
b) what aspects of Gatsby’s character that Nick condemns.
Identify the places in the novel where we see other characters’ perspectives on Gatsby and
make notes on what these other perspectives suggest to us about Gatsby.
© 2009
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