Gatsby's Mysterious Nature in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

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The 1920’s was a time of prosperity, woman’s rights, and bootleggers. F. Scott Fitzgerald truly depicts the reality of this era with The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby, an enormously wealthy man, is famous for his extravagant parties and striking residence. However, this is all that is known about Gatsby. Even his closest friends continue to wonder what kind of man Gatsby actually is. The mysteriousness of Gatsby is demonstrated by conceivable gossip, his random departures, and the missing parts of his past.

It is human nature for people to question the character of those around them, and in Gatsby’s case, his friends did not have much information about him. Since little is known about Gatsby, his neighbor, Nick, must depend on misleading rumors about the man of mystery. At one of Gatsby’s glamorous parties, a group of women gossip, “One time he killed a man who had found out that he was the nephew to Von Hindenburg and second cousin to the devil” (61). Other guest place Gatsby as an illegal bootlegger or as a German spy during the war. While some of these stories may be true to his past, most are the outcome of society’s ignorance of Gatsby.

As Nick and Gatsby become more acquainted, Nick is invited to dine with Gatsby for lunch. They arrive at the restaurant, and eat while engaging with one of Gatsby’s business partners. After the three enjoy their lunch, Nick bumps into Tom Buchanan, the husband of Nick’s cousin, Daisy. Attempting to introduce Gatsby to Tom, an “…unfamiliar look of embarrassment came over Gatsby face… I turned towards Mr. Gatsby, but he was no longer there” (74). The reason for his disappearance is unknown, thus adding to the ambiguity of Gatsby.

Throughout the book, Nick strings together pieces of Gatsby’s past. However, his uncertainty grows as Gatsby reveals himself one day while driving to town, “[Gatsby] hurried the phrase ‘educated at Oxford,’ or swallowed it, or choked on it, as though it had bothered him before. And with this doubt, his whole statement fell to pieces, and I wondered if there wasn’t something a little sinister about him, after all” (65). With hesitation in his voice, Gatsby is surely not revealing the truth. The many holes in his storyline can certainly lead one to question the validity of his past.
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