L’enfant et la rivière

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Henri Bosco

Nick Carraway — Nick is the narrator of the novel, as well as the main character. He is from Minnesota and has been educated at Yale. He spends time fighting in WWI, and then decides to get into the bond business in New York City. He is a non-judgmental man who is tolerant of others and very honest in all of his dealings with others. When people have secrets and problems that are bothering them, they often confide in Nick. He moves to a place called West Egg, which is part of Long Island (fictional) and home to many people who are newly rich. His neighbor next door is Jay Gatsby, who is mysterious and reclusive. Nick is also the cousin of Daisy Buchanan, so he works to re-establish the romance she once had with Gatsby. Because the story is told completely through the eyes of Nick, the perceptions he has go a long way toward shaping the story.

Daisy Buchanan — Daisy is the cousin of the main character, Nick. Gatsby loves her, and was one of the officers to court her before the war, when they were in Louisville. She promised that she would wait for Gatsby, but she changed her mind when Tom Buchanan asked for her hand in marriage. She had a deep need to feel loved, and Tom was powerful and rich. She is a socialite now, and she lives in East Egg, across from Gatsby and his West Egg home. Her husband cheats on her all the time, and she has become very superficial in an effort to mask the pain that she feels.

Tom Buchanan — Daisy's husband, Tom is incredibly rich. He was a member of the same social club as Nick when they were at Yale. He has a family that has "old money," and he is a powerfully-built bully. Arrogant and unpleasant, he is both sexist and racist. He has no interest in following any kind of moral code, but others around him must have strong morals or he will not allow them into his circle. He is having an affair with a woman named Myrtle, but when he starts to think that Gatsby and Daisy may be having an affair, he is completely enraged. At that point, he forces a confrontation in order to regain control of the woman he basically sees as his property.

Jay Gatsby — Even though Nick is narrator and main character, Gatsby is the protagonist and title character. He is incredibly wealthy and lives in a Gothic-style mansion in trendy West Egg. Every Saturday night he throws a lavish party, but yet no one knows much about him. They are unaware how he made his money, what he does (or did) for a living, or even where he came from before he lived in West Egg. Throughout the progression of the novel, Nick finds information that indicates Gatsby was born on a North Dakota farm as James Gatz. He worked for a millionaire, and decided that he would dedicate his life to creating and amassing great wealth for himself.

He was in Louisville, training to be an officer in the military, when he met Daisy. He fell in love with her, but did not have the wealth or social standing she desired at the time. Gatsby's fortune has come through being a criminal, because he believed that he needed social status to win Daisy, and he was willing to do anything to get that status. Nick sees Gatsby as being very flawed, as well as vulgar and dishonest. Still, the man's optimism and the power to take his dreams and make them into reality still make him "great" in that sense.

Myrtle Wilson — Myrtle is the lover of Tom, Daisy's husband. Myrtle's husband is George, and he runs a garage in a place called the Valley of Ashes. She is looking for a way in which she can change her situation and have more wealth and power. She believes this might come through her affair with Tom, but Tom does not really see her as a person. He mostly sees her as an object of his desire, and nothing more. Her husband is basically lifeless and uninteresting, while Myrtle is full of the vitality of life. This is a large part of what caused her to begin the affair.

George Wilson — George is a mostly lifeless person without much vitality or enthusiasm. He owns and operates an auto shop that is very run down and in the Valley of Ashes. He is deeply in love with his wife, Myrtle, and the fact that she is having an affair devastates him. When Myrtle is killed, George is completely consumed with his grief. He is often compared to Gatsby in that they are dreamers who are being ruined by women who love Tom. The unrequited love with which they are dealing is all-consuming to them in many ways.

Jordan Baker — Jordan is a friend of Daisy's, and a romantic interest for Nick. During the novel, the two of them become involved. Jordan plays golf, and is good enough to play competitively in tournaments. She is very beautiful, but she is also shallow and dishonest. During the first tournament she ever won, she cheated. Additionally, she is self-centered, cynical, and a tomboy who is always bending and stretching the truth to get what she needs.

Owl Eyes — Owl Eyes has that name because he wears glasses. He is also a drunk, and very eccentric. Nick first meets him at one of the parties Gatsby is throwing. It is the first party that Nick has attended there, and he finds Owl Eyes in Gatsby's library. The eccentric man is completely astonished that the books in the library are actually real.

Klipspringer — Klipspringer is a freeloader, and a shallow man who basically lives at the mansion with Gatsby. He takes advantage of the money and anything else he can get while he is there. When Gatsby finally dies, Klipspringer conveniently disappears but not before he calls Nick to tell him about a pair of shoes that was left at Gatsby's mansion. Klipspringer is such a freeloader and so completely unconcerned with his host that he does not even come to Gatsby's funeral.

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