Animal Motif in F. S. Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby."

Essay by PoloCollarsup69High School, 12th gradeA+, May 2005

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The Puppy

A distant relative of the writer of "The Star Spangled Banner," Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was raised by his father following the death of his mother; the two lived off her small inheritance. Fitzgerald wrote a series of novels taking place in the "roaring twenties." In 1925 Fitzgerald created the arguably biographical, The Great Gatsby. In the novel Fitzgerald uses animals, mainly a puppy, to characterize, and to drive the plot.

In the earlier section of the book, chapter 2, the reader meets the puppy. In meeting the puppy, Fitzgerald conveys education levels of Myrtle Wilson and Tom Buchanan. "I don't suppose you got that kind?" (27) This quote from Myrtle shows us that her english level is below par. However, Tom's knowledge is shown to be slightly more extensive when he realizes that the dog the man tries to sell them isn't the type myrtle had desired.

"That's no police dog." (27) Throughout the entire ordeal, Myrtle has somewhat of a gitty disposition, while Tom is ready to move ahead. His impatience is show when Myrtle asks the sex of the dog. The dog is said to be male, but he replies, "It's a bitch." (27) This attitude remains throughout the novel. Fitzgerald uses this puppy scene as a fantastic opportunity to characterize.

In the later section of the book, chapter 8, the reader is told about the puppy's dog collar. Fitzgerald no longer uses the puppy for characterization, but rather to provide a vehicle for Gatsby's death, and consequently Wilson's. Wilson had been suspicious of Myrtle before this incident, but it was later that Wilson is assured of her affair after discovering the dog collar Tom had bought for her pet. George Wilson is so mad that he takes his ideas so far as to say that the person who gave her this collar, murdered Myrtle. Eventually, Wilson acquires the location of the yellow car that ran his wife over; Gatsby's house. Wilson murders Gatsby and then commits suicide. This little puppy is one of the main vehicles that leads to Gatsby's death.

Fitzgerald used fantastic writing craft in his novels. He himself had a dog; this fact just adding to the mirror of his non fiction life. Fitzgerald uses the Airedale as a way to characterize his many intricate characters, and to drive the plot.

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