Sunday, May 12, 2013

Tyson Gets It! - By Mitch - 4/28/13

After reading many of Lois Tyson's essays, there is finally one I agree with. The Great Gatsby is full of Eurocentrism. This story is taking place in America, a land that is home to the native Americans. But, every main character is white and exclusive, and some, such as Tom Buchanan and Nick Carraway are even racist.
     Tyson writes that, "... the culturally privileged distance themselves emotionally from populations over whom they want to gain or maintain control." (Tyson 434) These people are some of the richest in America, they believe they are among everybody. Tyson has already pointed out to us the absence of African American culture in this story, showing that the novel lacks diversity. This is reinforced by the way that Tom Buchanan and Nick Carraway express racism.
     Tom and Nick both say things that show their attitudes of Eurocentrism. For Tom this was already obvious to me. But for Nick, it didn't come as quickly. It wasn't entirely clear until Tyson writes that, "Whenever Nick has cause to mention people from a different culture he emphasizes their ethnicity as if that were their primary or only feature and thus foregrounds on their 'alien' quality." (Tyson 435) It is completely unfair to for any character in this story to do this, because to the native people of the land in which the story takes place, this race is alien.
     Gatsby reinforces his high class status by having many high class parties with random people. But, are they random. F. Scott Fitzgerald provides us with a guest list from one of Gatsby's extravagant parties. "Roebuck", "Schoen", "Eckhaust", "Cohen", "Schwartze." Are a few examples. These last names are all German or Polish, and the story uses these names as examples of "high class names". These names are not "high class" they are white names.
     The Great Gatsby is completely Eurocentric novel that criticizes white culture in America at the time. Lois Tyson hit a good point when she mentioned the fact that the whites are not biologically from America. The whites were the displaced culture and the one that was more culturally privileged. The novel demonstrates the privileged culture as the high class.

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