The Ironic Title of The Great Gatsby Essay

The Ironic Title of The Great Gatsby Essay

Length: 1141 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Ironic Title of The Great Gatsby

   Titling is a very important part of the fiction-writing process. It is important for authors to be careful in choosing their titles because the titles often can have great influence on certain aspects of the story. In the book, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the title was formulated with the intention of heightening characterization through the use of irony. When readers start to read this novel, they immediately see a man who seems very glamorous and powerful while they have already been predisposed to seeing him in an alluring light due to the book's title. However, this perception of Gatsby is eventually completely transformed as Fitzgerald continuously divulges the flaws within Gatsby and his way of life. Having given his book the title, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald has created a level of irony that enhances Gatsby's character and serves as a basis of contrast between how Gatsby appears to an outsider and what he really is.


F. Scott Fitzgerald was very clever in choosing the word "great" in describing such a complex character as Jay Gatsby. It is clear that this word is being used facetiously as Fitzgerald continuously reveals more and more weakness within Gatsby. At first glance, Gatsby is portrayed as glamorous and magnificent. The reader himself learns to appreciate this man who is the classic example of an American hero- someone who has worked his way up the social and economic ladder. He is a man who has completely invented his own, new, inflated image. Throughout the novel, this glorified facade is slowly peeled away. Gatsby eventually gets killed in pursuit of romance with the beautiful, superficial socialite, Daisy Buchanan. Havi...

... middle of paper ...

...ed because there is a reflection of an even stronger idea of false glamour to add onto that revealed in the text. The irony of the title of this book is another thing that makes it so great and out of the ordinary. Fitzgerald was a pioneer in bringing to light the flaws within the American Dream. By writing The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald successfully revealed the typically overlooked downside to striving for perfection.


Work Cited

Bewley, Marius. "Scott Fitzgerald's Criticism of America." Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Great Gatsby.  Ed. Ernest Lockridge. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968. 37-53.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. London: Penguin Books, 1990.

Trilling, Lionel. "F. Scott Fitzgerald." Critical Essays on Scott Fitzgerald's "Great Gatsby." Ed. Scott Donaldson. Boston: Hall, 1984. 13-20.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Great Gatsby Essay: The Great Gatsby is Not So Great

- The Great Gatsby is Not The novel has no plot to mention. ... The book is highly sensational, loud, blatant, ugly, pointless. There seems to be no reason for its existence Harvey Eagleton (Dallas Morning News, May 10, 1925). F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is an absurd story, whether considered as romance, melodrama, or plain record of New York high life.  The occasional insights into character stand out as very green oases on an arid desert of waste paper.  Throughout the first half of the book the author shadows his leading character in mystery, but when in the latter part he unfolds his life story it is difficult to find the brains, the cleverness, and the glamour that one migh...   [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]

Free Essays
505 words (1.4 pages)

How can Gatsby be called Great Essay

- The title of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ can be seen as incredibly ironic: not only can the ‘greatness’ of the eponymous character be vehemently contested, he is not even named ‘Gatsby’. In fact, he is a criminal, James Gatz, who, although he appears to be an epitome of the idealistic American Dream, having grown from an impoverished childhood into a life of excess and splendour, he has obtained everything through crime and corruption. Indeed, it has been said that ‘The Great Gatsby’ is “a parable of disenchantment with the ‘American Dream’” , and it is, for the American Dream is the idea that “through hard work, courage and determination, one could achieve prosperity.” Jam...   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald Great Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1326 words (3.8 pages)

Exploring Gatsby's "Greatness" as Illustrated in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

- People will do anything for love and some of those behaviors may not be approved by other individuals. The Great Gatsby is a great example of that statement. The book’s title is ironic in a way too. The man whom the book is about is named James Gatz, not Jay Gatsby as said in the earlier chapters of the book. Moreover, this man, whatever one would call him, was not a great man. He lied and got his money in an unorthodox way. He did however overcome a significant obstacle in life, poverty. Gatsby was one of the few who went go from “Rags to Riches” and to live the “American Dream.” In the eyes of Nick, the narrator, Gatsby was a great man, despite the fact that he lied and got wealthy in an...   [tags: Character Analysis]

Strong Essays
803 words (2.3 pages)

The Great Gatsby As A Tragedy Essay example

- The Great Gatsby As A Tragedy A hurried read of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby can generate a tragic impression. The deaths of three of the main characters and the failure of Gatsby and Daisy's romance can be viewed as tragic. However, a deeper analysis of the book reveals a much deeper tragedy. The relentless struggles of Gatsby himself parallel Fitzgerald's apparent ideas of the struggles of all Americans. The American dream romanticized by the majority of the population is really unattainable because it is, in fact, nonexistent....   [tags: English Literature]

Strong Essays
908 words (2.6 pages)

Irony of The Great Gatsby Essay

- Many authors use irony as a way of questioning the reader or emphasizing a central idea. A literary device, such as irony, can only be made simple with the help of examples. Irony can help a reader to better understand certain parts of a novel. F. Scott Fitzgerald helps the reader to recognize and understand his use of irony by giving key examples throughout The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald uses Gatsby’s lush parties, Myrtle’s death, Gatsby’s death, and the title of the novel to demonstrate how irony plays a key role in the development of the plot....   [tags: american dream, money, extravagant parties]

Strong Essays
1011 words (2.9 pages)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay examples

- ... Over the years, Gatsby manages to gain status by making a lot of money and creating for himself and Daisy the image he wants to convey to others based on his dream; this is the first part of his dream that he manages to realize. Daisy is the main reason for his greatness and desire and ability to achieve some of his dream. “He took what he could get, ravenously and unscrupulously—eventually he took Daisy one still October night, took her because he had no real right to touch her hand” (Fitzgerald 149)....   [tags: the American dream, character analysis]

Strong Essays
910 words (2.6 pages)

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay examples

- ... They are greedy creatures who wish to continue their success and American identity, known family career, in their blood lines. Families like the Rockefellers and the Carnegies who control industries, force immigrants to conform to the social inadequacies of America. They provide their children with the necessary means to succeed, while people coming to America in search of opportunity are being handicapped to the bottom of the social ladder. People throw away their identity and what little property they had just to come to America to face the same oppression they had faced in their home lands....   [tags: opression, opportunities, inequality]

Strong Essays
727 words (2.1 pages)

The Great Gatsby - A False Title? Essays

- The Great Gatsby. Many people feel that Jay Gatsby, the main character of the Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald: fits the tittle and is indeed great. These people feel this way because of Gatsby's wealth, nice house,car, and all his lavish parties with hoards of unknown guests. But what these people don't seem to realize is the many definitions of great, and they seem to just look at the characteristics of the word. Other people on the other hand look at the definition of the word great that the title has given to Gatsby.The word great is superior in quality,or character, and Gatsby does not fit the criteria....   [tags: Classic American Literature]

Strong Essays
641 words (1.8 pages)

Essay about Title Of The Great Gatsby

- Gatsby's Greatness There is much controversy on why F. Scott Fitzgerald chose his masterpiece to be title The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald chose The Great Gatsby as the title to show the duality of how the central character of Jay Gatsby is great in trying determinedly to achieve his goal of Daisy, but how his 'greatness'; brings about his own downfall. Gatsby is, at first glance, truly great, for he pursues his dream of Daisy relentlessly. Jordan Baker, in a conversation with Nick Carraway, lets him know that Gatsby wanted to let Daisy know how rich and powerful was; how 'he [wanted] her to see his house,'; which is extravagant....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
425 words (1.2 pages)

Free Great Gatsby Essays: The Truly Great Gatsby

- The Truly Great Gatsby Is his novel the Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald creates Gatsby as a character who becomes great. He begins life as just an ordinary, lower-class, citizen. But Gatsby has a dream of becoming wealthy. After meeting Daisy, he has a reason to strive to become prominent. Throughout his life, Gatsby gains the title of truly being great. Even before Gatsby is introduced, he is hinted at being out of the ordinary. The first evidence of this is when Nick says, "Gatsby turned out all right at the end." (2) Nothing was known about Gatsby at the time and Nick is already saying Gatsby was okay....   [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]

Free Essays
1243 words (3.6 pages)