Jay Gatsby in ‘The Great Gatsby’

Jay Gatzby springs from James Gatz’s ‘Platonic conception of himself.’ At seventeen years of age, James Gatz sets out to carve out a rich life for himself, away from his parents who were ‘shiftless and unsuccessful farm people’. After several years of struggling as an army man, as a sailor and as bond salesman, Gatsby finally comes into some money. With this money Gatsby tries to unsuccessfully entice his long lost love Daisy away from her husband and child.

Character Traits

-Gatsby is a compulsive liar. He lies about his back ground to everybody including his close friend Nick and his lady love Daisy till the very end. His most popular lie perhaps was that he had studied at Oxford because it was a family tradition.

-Gatsby loves showing off his money. Gatsby throws lavish parties for people he does not know. Gatsby lives in a mansion that ‘was a colossal affair by any standard’ ‘with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden.’

-Gatsby is a gentleman at heart. He cannot do willful harm to people. Gatsby decides to stand up for Daisy when she accidentally kills Myrtle. He is even kind in his own flamboyant way. Gatsby sends a brand new evening gown to one of his guests as a present after she had accidentally torn her own gown at one of his parties.

-Gatsby is a vulnerable character. Perhaps it is because of this that he constantly weaves a tapestry of lies around him as a protective shield. And it is due to this reason that he does not have any close friends.

-Gatsby is a romantic though his romantic dream is based on a rotten ideology.

Love and Ideology Jay Gatsby loves Daisy because ‘she was the first nice girl he had ever known’ and also because she represents for him the rich future he wants for himself- ‘Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor’. Therefore he sets out to earn money with which to win Daisy back. It does not matter to Gatsby that Daisy can only love richness and is too frivolous to love a man.

Bleak End Gatsby squanders his life away in pursuit of a mirage. He thinks that Daisy can be won back with all his newly acquired money and they can start life afresh, easily erasing the 5 years of Daisy’s marriage. But all his wealth comes to naught when Daisy, unable to reciprocate his passionate love, goes away forever to an undisclosed address with her husband Tom.



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