Jay Gatsby

Jay Gatsby is the central subject of the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Gatsby is initially presented as highly mysterious, although the reader discovers more about him, his background and motivation, as the novel progresses. Incredibly wealthy but surprisingly young (around 30) Gatsby lives a life of luxury, throwing decadent parties every Saturday. It is later revealed that he only does this in the hope of attracting Daisy.

Gatsby cannot stand the idea of poverty, and all his life he has striven to be rich and sophisticated. He finally achieved this, but through dubious means, making money from organized crime and selling illegal goods. On the one hand, Gatsby's story of poverty to riches makes him the model of the American dream, rising beyond his station in life with a combination of hard work and intelligence. On the other hand, his is a corrupt version of this model, dirtying his hands through his association with criminals such as the notorious gambler Meyer Wolfshiem.

Also, Gatsby is ashamed of his lower-class roots, and tells Nick an obviously falsified story to cover them up, originally claiming that his family had a “tradition” of educating their sons at Oxford and that when they died he “came into a good deal of money” (p. 64). He later reveals the truth; that his “his parents were shiftless ...

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