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Within & Without: 'The Great Gatsby'

By November 23, 2013

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The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby is usually the novel for which F. Scott Fitzgerald is best remembered. With this and other works, Fitzgerald forged his place in American literature as the chronicler of the Jazz Age of the 1920's.

Written in 1925, the novel is a snapshot of the time period. We experience the glittery-splendiferous world of the wealthy--with the accompanying emptiness of morally decayed hypocrisy. Gatsby represents so much that is seductive, but his pursuit of passion--at the expense of all else--leads him to his own ultimate destruction.

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald writes: "I wanted to get out and walk eastward toward the park through the soft twilight, but each time I tried to go I became entangled in some wild, strident argument which pulled me back, as if with ropes, into my chair. Yet high over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets... I saw him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without."

Do you ever feel "within and without"? What do you think it means? Do you ever wonder?

Cover Art Penguin.

Purchase the book now! The Great Gatsby(or The Great Gatsby CD)


August 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm
(1) Mohamed Mughal says:

Being the narrator of the novel, Nick is in a unique position, a character who experiences the events of the novel, yet relays them to the reader after a time and with a certain degree of detachment…both within and without.

August 20, 2012 at 2:04 pm
(2) Dan Vitale says:

Nick was perched on the threshold of all the hypocrisy. He bought into it at some level, yet tried to remain detached and aloof. In his ambivalence, he was within, and without.

August 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm
(3) Darkenwulf says:

I think I understand that are two different states of being. Within is your inner nature, internal dreams and ambitions, your personal landscape. Without is what we pose for the public and what others seem to say we are. Within is ourselves and without is what is expected when we play the role of clown or ringmaster (sometimes the two being one).

August 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm
(4) Martin says:

I have to agree whole heartedly with you Darkenwulf. Of course, men are expected to show and be a rock or pillar, which isn’t necessarily how you actually feel inside.

September 4, 2012 at 12:26 am
(5) sarbani says:

the beauty of literature is such that each individual can interpret a particular situation in a novel,poem or play in her/his own words. Nick is a silent observer yet plays the most important part in the novel- that of a narrator without whom the novel remains incomplete.

September 9, 2012 at 3:15 am
(6) sitemap generator software says:

It’s an awesome paragraph in support of all the internet users; they will take advantage from it I am sure.

August 19, 2013 at 2:43 am
(7) AleX says:

Within and without refers to the very nature of the secrets he is guarding for other people. He is within secrecy but even though he’s in on it, he’s not the one living it. He is outside the love both Gatsby and Daisy share and outside of the affair Tom is having yet he is there. On more common expression he failed to adapt to what we could call the ‘third wheel’ status. That’s why he is having a hard time finding his place, adapting, both feeling he is within all this madness but also without, spectator and participant.

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