What does Gatsby's connection with Mr. Wolfsheim suggest about Gatsby? 

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sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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The rhetoric of Wolfsheim's name is significant:  "wolf" as a dangerous carnivore and predator, and then "sheim" signifying German, which in the mid 1920s when Fitzgerald wrote Gatsbywas still synonymous with "enemy."  It is interesting that Fitzgerald integrates that name linked with German character / enemy as part of (the underbelly of) the American dream.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The connection with this underworld character reveals a lot of missing pieces about the how, what, and why of Gatsby.  Wolfsheim is the underbottom of success, the seedy connection that has made Gatsby his fortune at the price of his soul. 

The character analysis of Wolsheim here at eNotes reads, in part: 

"One of Wolfsheim's notable characteristics is his wearing of cufflinks made of human molars. He is so selfish and insecure that he refuses to attend Gatsby's funeral. Nick sees the gangster part of Gatsby's life as one of the ways he made his money, but he separates Gatsby's character from true insensitive, subhuman criminals like Wolfsheim. Gatsby stands by Daisy when she commits a crime, but Wolfsheim will not honor his relationships."


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