Dishonesty in The Great Gatsby Essay

Dishonesty in The Great Gatsby Essay

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Lies are a treacherous thing, yet everyone tells a few lies during their lifetime. Deceit surrounds us all the time; even when one reads classic literature. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald makes dishonesty a major theme in his novel The Great Gatsby. The falsehoods told by the characters in this novel leads to inevitable tragedy when the truth is revealed.

Jay Gatsby, one of the main characters in the novel, fails to realize that when one tells a lie, it comes back to bite you. For example, he initially tells his neighbor, and potential friend Nick, that he had inherited his redundant sums of money from his family. One night, the night Gatsby reunites with Daisy, he and Nick are admiring his substantial house. During the conversation, Gatsby slips out, “It took me just three years to earn the money that bought it” (Fitzgerald 90). By this, one can see Gatsby lie about how he acquired the wealth he has. When Nick questions his inheritance of the money, Gatsby automatically stutters with another lie- that he lost his family fortune in the panic of the war and had to earn all the money again by himself. Gatsby may have not realized he let this lie slide out from under him due to the rush of emotions connected with the reunion of his long lost love. Nevertheless, he did lie to Nick about his past, along with many other people, including Daisy. When he and his love first meet, he lies to her and comes off as a rich, stable man, she would be lucky to fall in love with. This is not the case, however. He is not as innocent as to have just inherit the wealth he gloats. Fitzgerald states, “He might have despised himself, for he had certainly taken her under false pretenses. I don’t mean that he had traded his phantom millions,...


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...of events, leading to many deaths. On the other hand, because Gatsby was lying and deceiving people to try to reach a goal, should his actions be considered ambitious? Since Tom and Daisy were not truly in love, and simply did not want to hurt the other, should their actions be considered thoughtful? Maybe there is a good intention behind the lies, but never a good outcome.



Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. 1925. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004. Print.

Hermanson, Casie E. "An overview of The Great Gatsby." Literature Resource Center. Detroit: Gale, 2011. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 Feb. 2011.

Sutton, Brian. "Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby." Explicator 59.1 (Fall 2000): 37-39. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Linda Pavlovski. Vol. 157. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center. Web. 24 Feb. 2011.

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