The Great Gatsby

Unlikely Acts of Heroism in The Great Gatsby 11th Grade

F. Scott Fitzgerald uses a range of techniques in The Great Gatsby to explore the idea that it is often the most unlikely people who display acts of heroism. Many of the characters in the novel show stereotypical characteristics, but act contrary to what is expected. The contrasting characters of Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby convey the nature of a hero and suggest that a hero may come from an unlikely source. Additionally, Fitzgerald displays that Gatsby’s true character is far different from the way in which others see him through his use of Nick Caraway as the narrator. Through Nick, we see Gatsby’s transformation into a tragic hero when his love for Daisy ends in the destruction of his dream.

The contrast made by Fitzgerald between Tom and Gatsby’s personalities convey to the reader that it is often the most unlikely characters who display heroic traits of courage and nobility. Fitzgerald introduces Tom to the reader as ‘sturdy’ and ‘always leaning aggressively forward’ with a ‘great pack of muscle … capable of enormous leverage’ (12). Gatsby, on other hand, is initially introduced vaguely to the reader as an ostentatious newly rich ‘bootlegger’ (60),...

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