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Gatsby Is Really Great in The Great Gatsby

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Throughout history, few have achieved so much as to afford the title “the Great”. Catherine the Great of Russia and Alexander the Great of Greece are two significant examples. They attained their positions through immense achievement, placing them far above the average person. According to Google Dictionary, in order to be considered great, one must be “of ability, quality, or eminence considerably above the normal or average”. In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, many characters are described using different key adjectives like 'thrilling' and 'sturdy'. The title character Jay Gatsby is described as 'great'. He is later shown to be a corrupt businessman whose entire life surrounds one purpose. The greatness of Jay Gatsby has often been debated, but evidence continues to show that even through his faults, corrupt ways and elaborate lies, Gatsby is great because his ability to dream and hope for a better future lifts him above the average and empowers the American Dream as an ideal.

Nick believes that Gatsby's saving virtue that places him above the average person is his capacity to hope and his ability to persevere towards his dreams at any cost. In the end, when he describes Gatsby’s dream he says "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...And one fine morning-" (Fitzgerald 180). It is clear that at least from Nick's perspective Gatsby is above the norm. "Gatsby believed in the green light [...] It eluded us". Gatsby is shown as having the capability to believe in something, in this case the symbolic nature of the green light, but this ability is contrasted ...

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...ican Dream.

Gatsby is ultimately a great man because his ability to hope and persevere in the accomplishment of his dreams gives him a "quality considerably above the normal or average". His corruption and distasteful practices do little to take away from the greatness of a man who could create an entire persona for himself as a goal and maintain it throughout his life. His ceaseless commitment to his dreams drives, to this day, a comparison of Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby to the American Dream. There is no doubt that even through his corrupt dealings, Gatsby’s greatness is justified because of his unusual capacity to hope. Gatsby’s greatness has often been debated, but he clearly emanates qualities above the average, and therefore characterizing him as “great” is justified.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004.
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