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In The Great Gatsby, what makes Gatsby great? Open


"The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald's third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature." --From the back cover of A Cornell Edition of The Great Gatsby.

Character sketch of Jay Gatsby-The Great Gatsby

Gatsby is no more than a simple man who lives, loves, and dies. But perhaps he is much more than that – a hero for all dreamers, one who stands for the survival of his dreams even in the face of unconquerable adversity, and one who dies tragically, an honourable yet empty man, with an army of faithful readers mourning his defeat in death but unceasingly admiring his disposition in life. Perhaps, just maybe, it is what he is fighting for that everyone can relate to. When it comes down to it, Gatsby is fighting to chase a love that is slipping too quickly into his past for him to catch. We, as the readers, know that Gatsby’s desire for Daisy’s love is a hopeless case, yet we want so badly for him to be happy; it is this paradox that brings us all together in support of Gatsby. It is what makes us hate Daisy when she cries over the shirts. It is what makes us love him when he puts his pride aside to hide in the bushes to make sure she is alright. It is what makes us sick when Gatsby’s body is floating dead in his pool. It is what makes us feel as though we are there at his funeral, mourning the loss of a close friend.

In Gatsby, F. Scot Fitzgerald has developed a character that can only be considered great, and develops it all the way to the end of the novel. He created Jay Gatsby to embody the American dream. That unique American ability to go from rags to riches. A dream that is the epitome of all dreams, and that all people have dreamt at one time or another: The poor boy or the broke soldier having the very very rich girl, and rising to the class of the rich and famous. James Gatz, the man who would become Jay Gatsby, had only $5 in his pocket when he arrived in New York and met Wolfshiem(from the end of the book after Gatsby's death) This little piece of info shows that in a mere 3 years, he went from nothing to owning one of the largest houses in New York speaking to the most powerful people around, and throwing parties that every important person in the Us attended. This is the American Dream.

F. Scot Fitzgerald places him as a mid-west good old boy, who went into the Army to fight "the great war". He is the all American boy. Then we find out that he had a list of things to guide his life and become great. Even though F. Scott Fitzgerald could have stopped there, he did not feel that James Gatz had truly become great. He points out that Gatsby, unlike everyone else, achieved this greatness for love. When one person selflessly gives themselves, sacrifices themselves, sacrifices everything they have, and even gives their life for someone else; they are greater than anyone. Gatsby's pursuit of Daisy, to win her love, is the dream he lives for, and hope sustains him. Daisy is Gatsby's version of the American Dream, the love of his life, the perfect housewife, the ultimate status, "the king's daughter, the golden girl" (however all of these qualities are just Gatsby's idealization of her after dreaming about her for five years) and he is willing to sacrificing everything to obtain her. James Gatz lived his entire life to love Daisy. When he shows her the stuff in his house, he's showing her the house he has created for her. He doesn't really care for any of this - it's all done specifically for her. Even the parties stopped when she didn't like them. Eventually, Gatsby wins Daisy's love but this is short lived due the confrontation with Tom, where Gatsby is defeated, as Tom establishes that Daisy will stop having an affair because she is part of the Establishment, and Gatsby is a law-breaker. This is the point of the novel, where the limitations of Gatsby's greatness are revealed, as all he lives for are dreams, idealizations of reality which will ultimately leave him unsatisfied as he will never reach that perfect world in the end, he says that he will tell the police that he was driving, he waits outside her house like a gallant knight, and finally takes a bullet for her for her so that she may live on. Jay Gatsby has lived and created all that he has in the name of love and the name of Daisy, not James Gatz or Jay Gatsby.The last comment from Gatsby is about Daisy coming to him, and Nick responds by stating that Gatsby is better then all of them. So Gatsby dies for love and for the people. Moreover he is great in all desires and all his dids.