Decisive Elements In The Great Gatsby

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The German author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “ I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. My personal approach creates the climate. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether or not a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or dehumanized”. While this quote originated around one hundred years before The Great Gatsby was written, it can be spoken by Nick Carraway and maintain its validity. The quote aligns with Nick’s role as the epistemic narrator, as well as his characterization throughout the novel. Due to Nick Carraway’s role as the epistemic narrator of The Great Gatsby, he suits Goethe’s quote perfectly. Nick expresses his understanding of the quale “that he is the decisive element” by stating “reading over what I have written so far, I see I have given the impression that the events of three nights several weeks apart were all that absorbed me” (Ch 3, Pg 24). In this statement, Nick pauses the storyline of the novel and ensures the reader that he controls what information is relayed and how it is interpreted without directly stating his title as the “decisive element”. Because every story possesses a level of bias,…show more content…
Thus, when a conflict arises, Nick possesses the ability to humanize or dehumanize another character. During his separation discussion with Jordan, he dehumanizes (makes her less humane or civilized) her to the reader. Nick recalls her stating “I don’t give a damn about you now” (Ch 9, Pg 87). Essentially, Jordan was humane before the break up, but afterwards Nick allows the reader to know her harsh, inhumane statement. Nick’s response to her statement was that he was “angry”, which confirms that her actions were inhumane (Ch 9, Pg 87). Thus, because of the reader only receiving the storyline from Nick, Jordan Baker was dehumanized after their separation

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