The Great Gatsby Obscene Word Analysis

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As the embodiment of the American Dream, Gatsby is both present and unreachable. Gatsby, although corrupt for most of the novel, turns out “alright” in the end. In her article, “The Great Gatsby and the Obscene Word”, the author, Barbra Will, focuses on how Gatsby’s characterization and the obscene word on his steps complete the ending to The Great Gatsby. With his past life being full of corruption, the audience, as well as Nick, is forced to forget about Gatsby’s past. When Gatsby’s past is forgotten, he can more clearly represent the audience. When diving deeper into the characterization of Gatsby, it is clear that Fitzgerald makes Gatsby appear as both a ubiquitous presence and as an intangible force at the same time. The scene in which an obscene word is…show more content…
Gatsby’s troubled past contradicts with his present personality. After Gatsby dies, Nick is torn between believing that Gatsby is a great friend and that Gatsby is a corrupt bootlegger. In order to believe that Gatsby is a good friend, Nick must forget about Gatsby’s criminal past. By erasing the obscene word on Gatsby’s steps, Nick is choosing to erase Gatsby’s corrupt past and remember Gatsby as a good friend. Barbara also mentions how frequently Fitzgerald mentions eyesight and Gatsby’s vanishings. Gatsby’s mysteriousness is brought to the forefront when he suddenly vanishes from conversations, and when the owl-eyed man cannot see through Gatsby’s clever lies. Gatsby’s mysterious behaviors are as obscene as the obscene word written on his steps. Barbara claims, “the text stakes its ending on the inevitability of our forgetting everything about Gatsby that has proved troublesome about his character up to this point” (2). The ending of The Great Gatsby can only make sense by forgetting about Gatsby’s corrupt and mysterious
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