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Discussing the Greatness of Jay Gatsby Essay

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The first thing you see when you pick up the novel is the title. Fitzgerald chose the title ‘The Great Gatsby’ for his novel. This could lead us to believe that he personally believed his character to be great. However, this was not his only title for the book. The original title of the novel was: ‘Trimalchio in West Egg.’ Perhaps Fitzgerald changed the title as his story developed as he came to realise Gatsby’s greatness. However, this could be used to argue the other way, perhaps this original title relates more to the party throwing Gatsby and the hedonistic Jazz Age, suggesting that Gatsby isn’t great.

Gatsby, as a rich man, has many beautiful possessions. This can be noticed in his ‘gorgeous’ car which had ‘a labyrinth of wind-shields that mirrored a dozen suns’. Nick discovers that at one of Gatsby’s parties a woman named Lucille tore her dress, and within a week she ‘got a package from Croirier’s with a new evening gown in it.’ This portrays Gatsby’s greatness through his generosity, and the impression is given that it is wonderful to be involved in Gatsby’s world.

As The Great Gatsby is narrated by Nick, we see everything through Nick’s eyes. Nick tells us towards the beginning that there was something ‘gorgeous’ about Gatsby which set him apart from everyone else. We as the reader feel attracted to Gatsby like Nick is. When Nick receives the invitation to Gatsby’s party, Nick says that the invitation was signed in a ‘majestic hand’, this makes Gatsby sound elegant. The beginning of chapter three, immediately gives the reader the impression of a fantastical atmosphere. Gatsby’s gardens are described as ‘blue’, a somewhat magical colour for gardens to be. Nick tells us that ‘men and girls came like moths among the w...


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...proves to cost him his life. Having a dream to that extent is not exactly great.

There is evidence for both sides of this argument. Personally I believe that Fitzgerald did not wish to prove that Gatsby was corrupt, instead he wanted to relate Gatsby’s dream to the American Dream, showing that it has been corrupt by people such as Tom and Daisy who pursue money for money’s sake. The original dream has been betrayed. It is no longer the ‘fresh green breast of the new world’, instead it has become corrupt, and no longer true. Only Gatsby holds a true dream, which is what, in my opinion, makes him so great. He cannot be blamed for the failure of his dream, because his dream was true, and gave him a purpose. It failed because of the corruption of Daisy, and her utterly careless nature. I believe that, as the title of the novel suggests, that Gatsby is truly great.


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