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Jay Gatsby: The Mystery

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Jay Gatsby, aka James Gatz is the subject of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. Through the course of the novel, this enigmatic and powerful character, defined by his preceding reputation is gradually deconstructed and revealed to be a lovesick man, a hopeless romantic. Understanding this statement affirms the actions taken by Gatsby in the course of the story. Unfortunately his actions also lead to the demise of dream and one himself. In the larger spectrum Gatsby is seen as the archetypical self-made man under the microscope, scrutinized by a prod to unveil what’s beneath the layers of gold and green.

Gatsby is largely a mystery at the story’s beginning, defined by his wealth and influence as well as the rumors that flood the gossip lanes. He resides in West Egg, home of the nouveaux riche, across the sound from East Egg, where the established older money claims home to. He’s largely known for his extravagant parties, open to all corners of society, but he doesn’t participate in none of them. His actions prompt one to guess a reason, which revealed is the sole reason for all of Gatsby’s achievements. When becoming friends with Nick Carraway, he gives him his back story – his family, his travels in Europe, his service in WW1 and his college days in Oxford – all to give him proof that he stems from the same pool of individuals as Nick does. This also unveils Gatsby to be innocent, and honest with most people, traits that come into conflict with his foil the aristocratic bully Tom Buchanan (Daisy’s husband). Even early on, the myth of Jay Gatsby starts to crumble away as its revealed he came to his wealth through criminal endeavors, confirmed by his meeting with Meyer Wolfshiem.

Gatsby’s behavior changes once he b...

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In conclusion Gatsby went from powerful millionaire to obsessive lover boy. However it does not end here. Gatsby as a whole can be seen as a cautionary tale, warning its readers to not base their hopes on hallow dreams at Gatsby did. However it’s what he did to attain his status earns him his “greatness”, his self-invention, his talent to make his dreams come true. So there is some good that comes from all the disarray and further cynical attitude set forth by its narrator Nick. Like Odysseus in the Odyssey, he had an undying perseverance to get home or in this case win Daisy back, but like any of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes he did enough to induce his downfall. He chased the American Dream, in constant pursuit with no sign of stopping, even if it killed him.

Works Cited

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