Is Gatsby Really Great

For some, greatness is something they are born with naturally, but for others it is something they themselves must achieve in order to have. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays Jay Gatsby with admirable qualities, a mysterious persona covering up his truths, superficial faults, and a loyal innocence dedicated to fulfilling his dream. Mr. Gatsbys traits entitle him to being labelled ‘great’. Gatsby has admirable qualities that contribute to defining his excellence.
Jay’s first encounter with the narrator, Nick Carraway, focuses deeply on his smile, explaining how: “It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in a life.. ” (Fitzgerald 48). Along with his captivating appearance, Mr. Jay Gatsby has a superior perspective to compliment it. His generosity is proven after one of his extravagant parties when Lucille accidentally tares her dress on a chair. She mentions that: “he asked me my name and address- inside of a week I got a package from Crorrier’s with a new evening gown in it. (43). The dress Mr. Gatsby delivers is not just any dress Lucille explains, it was a value of Two hundred and sixty-five dollars. With his money, surprisingly, does not come arrogance as shown afterwards when Nick fails to recognize that he is already conversing with the mysterious man himself. Gatsby modestly responds by saying: “I thought you knew, old sport. I’m afraid I’m no a very good host,” (48). Gatsby’s reaction reveals the humbleness in his character, even though this mishap is arguably not his fault. Jay’s features of excellence earn him to be classified as great.
The illusion Gatsby expresses in his persona gives off a sense of greatness in the aspect of magic and make-believe. Nick attends his first party at the Gatsby residence and eventually finds himself in the Library of the mansion. Alongside Jordan, ‘Owl Eyes’ explains to him the truth behind the crowded bookcases: “It’s a bona-fide printed matter. It fooled me.. Knew when to stop, too- didn’t cut the pages.. ” (46). Owl Eye’s investigating proves the books to be real. However, he also discovers the pages of the book have not been cut, thus, have not been read.

Aside from the physical props he uses, Gatsby as a person is really just an invention. At age seventeen, James Gatz is given the opportunity to become his dream by recreating himself. He escapes his unworthy past because, “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people- his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. ” (99). Thanks to the yacht owner, Dan Cody, James Gatz has the privilege to transform himself into the prestigious Mr. Jay Gatsby. Now Gatsby lives the cookie cutter life of the American Dream, which in the end is just another illusion.
The obsessive need to capture his dream develops his relationship with past love, Daisy, for the most part as a fantasy. Near the end of chapter seven, the glorified image of Gatsby and Daisy is suddenly shattered when she tells him: “Even alone I can’t say I never loved Tom,” (133). The devastation Gatsby faces leaves him in denial, blinded by the pursuit of his dreams. The false impression Gatsby illustrates is something the average human being is not capable of doing. Perfection is never achieved within Gatsby, though his faults are only that of superficial matter.
Tom outs Gatsby’s past crime life in front of Daisy, revealing that: “He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. ” (134). Though illegal at the time, it is hardly and immoral crime against foolish illegitimate laws. Truthful accusations are also made about truth telling, or lack thereof. Essentially, Gatsby lies in spite of his dreams. The faith he devotes to making Daisy a primary part of his life is the explanation behind his dedicated lies.
The whole reason “he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, (99) is to innocently stay loyal to Daisy, without harmful intentions. Gatsby’s faults are that of depth-less incidents and should not be used against his nobleness. Gatsby’s sense of hope towards his dream and pure optimism is really what separates him from everyday people. His unmistakable smile: “understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. (48). These feelings are brought to Nick with a simple, yet intriguing, flash of his grin. Originally, Gatsby’s life begins as a poor man, in love with a woman born from old money, but his unmitigated belief allows him a fighting chance against social differences. Though, “he let her believe that he was a person from much the same stratum as herself- that he was fully able to take care of her. As a matter of fact, he had no such facilities-” (149) he enforced this security into his life mainly because he never yields to cynicism. Even after Mr.
Gatsby passes, optimistic thoughts still roam throughout Nicks head; “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms farther… ” (182). Gatsby’s presence undoubtedly affects Mr. Carraways final thoughts of The Great Gatsby, substantiating his life changing positivity. In final analysis, the creation of Jay Gatsby makes him fitting to be labelled as ‘great’. Mainly, this dubbing is deserving because of his confidence he uses to make his vision a reality.
Similarly, the ‘mistakes’ he makes on this journey are not those of evil behaviour, only occurring because he is so absorbed in his own dream. Nevertheless, greatness can be looked at as an illusion, which Gatsby significantly portrays as well. Finally, because his qualities in general are admired by most and held in high respect. Greatness is not usually looked for following a format; it can not specifically define who is and who is not, but when it is recognized it is commonly the simple things that distinguish it.

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