How Far Do You Agree with Nick’s View That Gatsby Is “Worth the Whole Damn Bunch Put Together”?

3425 Words Jan 25th, 2013 14 Pages
How far do you agree with Nick’s view that Gatsby is “worth the whole damn bunch put together”?

The title character of The Great Gatsby is a young man, around thirty years old, who rose from an impoverished childhood in rural North Dakota to become fabulously wealthy. Indeed, Gatsby has become famous around New York for the elaborate parties held every weekend at his mansion, ostentatious spectacles to which people long to be invited. And yet, Nick Carraway’s description of the protagonist asserts that Gatsby seems curiously out of place among the ‘whole damn bunch’ which inhabit this lavish, showy world. Indeed, despite the aura of criminality surrounding his occupation, his love and loyalty to Daisy Buchanan and ultimately his capacity
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Nick is so incensed by Tom’s affair that his ‘own instinct was to telephone immediately for the police’. In fact, only a few months after their wedding, he appears to have had a fling with ‘one of the chambermaids in the Santa Barbara Hotel’. This series of affairs must have caused his wife some emotional damage. He does not even turn up to the birth of their daughter, Daisy casually informing Nick that ‘Tom was God knows where.’ In this way, Tom is neither attentive nor sensitive towards Daisy, especially in contrast with Gatsby. But Tom is not just unscrupulous but abusive. When Nick meets him in Chapter One, he asserts that he had ‘a cruel body’ which was ‘always leaning aggressively forward.’ And though Carraway never sees him being violent with his wife, there are hints of his unbridled physicality when Daisy reveals a bruise on her finger that, although accidental, was caused by that ‘brute of a man’. She says ‘accusingly’ that ‘you did it, Tom’. But the brutal streak really comes across when Tom is with his mistress. ‘With a short, deft movement’ he ‘broke her nose with his open hand.’

But the title character too has his flaws. Like ‘the whole damn bunch’, Gatsby lives extravagantly, replacing a guest’s damaged dress with one costing ‘two hundred and sixty-five dollars’. And like ‘the whole damn bunch’, he has made unethical choices, in his case in
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