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Gatsby Initial Impressions


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Initial impressions of Gatsby - Chapters 1-4
We see and hear relatively little of Gatsby in the opening chapter of the novel; he is presented as an almost ephemeral, ghost like figure. However we are drawn to his character by the way he is described: ‘There was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life’. Consequently, Every time he is mentioned there is always something to interrupt which adds to the mysteriousness of his character. At the end of chapter 1 we catch a glimpse of him where he is bonded with strong romantic imagery, he comes out to see ‘the silver pepper of the stars’ and is spotted when ‘the silhouette of a moving cat wavered across the moonlight’. Fitzgerald combines the purity and romance of Gatsby’s dream with these symbols. On the contrary when he gives a ‘sudden imitation that he was content to be alone’ by stretching out his arms towards the ‘dark water in a curious way’ the purity of his character seems to disappear as the ‘single green light, minute and far away’ suggests the ill omen of his character.
In Chapter 3 Fitzgerald uses the part scene to introduce Gatsby to the reader, here Gatsby emerges as a mysterious character who is the subject of gossip, He is well known but ironically nobody seems to have any verifiable information about him. Nick then describes him and says ‘he had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it’ the way Gatsby us portrayed is one of extreme modesty, he appears to be the perfect gentleman. However he keeps a distance from his guests which makes us question his character. Chapter 3 also focuses on perception and reality, when we are introduced to owl eyes he states that Gatsby’s books are all real which suggests that there is actual substance in Gatsby’s character while the guests at Gatsby’s party seem to care about mindless gossip. But the party itself seems to be a kind of elaborate theatrical presentation and this causes the reader to think that Gatsby’s whole life is merely a show.
In Chapter 4 we meet Wolfsheim who is Gatsby’s friend (A gambler) this gives the reader the unpleasant impression that Gatsby fortune may not have been obtained honestly, we question why he has connections with shady characters such as Wolfshiem.
By Yasmeen Ifzal

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