F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Essay

F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Essay

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F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby


The greatness of an individual can be defined in terms far beyond tangible accomplishments. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby's greatness comes from his need to experience success and his will to achieve his dreams. Nick Carraway narrates the story, and his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, is Gatsby's love. Daisy, however, is married to Tom Buchanan, a wealthy, arrogant womanizer who despises Gatsby. Gatsby feels the need to be successful and wealthy, and his participation in a bootlegging operation allows him to acquire the wealth and social status needed to attract Daisy. In his narration, Nick focuses on Gatsby's fixation of Daisy and how he longs for her presence in his life. Gatsby's greatness comes from his power to dream, his competence in turning dreams into reality, and his absolute love for Daisy.

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby uses his dreams as motivation for his existence.
Fitzgerald uses wealth and social status to define Gatsby?s character, which is exemplified by his lavish parties and the dignitaries who attend them. In his formative years, Gatsby was employed by a wealthy yachtsman, Dan Cody. It is from Cody that Gatsby develops his appreciation for wealth. ?To young Gatz, resting on his oars, looking up at the railed deck, that yacht represented all the beauty and glamour in the world? (Fitzgerald 106). Fitzgerald uses this quote to mark the point at which Gatsby encounters wealth and power for the first time, and also, he uses it to symbolize Gatsby?s social standing and economic status. By comparing Gatsby?s rowboat with the luxurious yacht of Cody?s, Fitzgerald presents the idea that money and power translate into bigger and better things. The event is symbolic in that it illustrates Gatsby?s perception that wealth is a necessity. By saying that he was ?looking up? to ?all the beauty and glamour in the world,? Fitzgerald makes it evident that Gatsby idolized this lifestyle. Also, he shows that Gatsby views beauty as a materialistic quality. Gatsby?s materialistic view of beauty can be seen in his love for Daisy when Gatsby says, ?her voice is full of money? (127). This quote by Gatsby shows how he identifies his love for Daisy with his love for money. Gatsby and Daisy met in Louisville, where they fell in love with each other, however, when Gatsby lef...


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...life ensconced in their very essence. Nick says that Gatsby, ?represented everything for which I had an unaffected scorn? (6). However, he is able to see through this dislike of Gatsby?s character to tell him, ?you?re worth the whole damn bunch put together? (162). In other words, Gatsby possessed the qualities of a great individual, but his reliance on material objects to show his love and his corrupt ideology prevent him from reaching his full potential as an honorable character in the work.

Gatsby?s greatness is not contained in noteworthy accomplishments, his wealth, or even his pursuit of love. Gatsby possesses the power to dream. Gatsby dreamed of being wealthy and reuniting with Daisy. He fulfilled his dreams, but unlike his dreams, Gatsby?s reality was hollow. His money was made illegally and his love for Daisy was based on only that which he could buy. Gatsby?s greatness is not only present in what he dreamt for, but also, he possessed the ability to grasp his dreams and turn them into reality. Gatsby may not be a perfect character, but by living for a purpose, he is able to extract greater meaning from life, making him superior to the other characters in the novel.

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