What one word do you think best describes Gatsby?

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e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

A term that is often associated with Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby is "glamour".

Gatsby is involved, first and foremost, with a dazzling and illusory dream. He fools himself as he fools others because he truly believes in his dream of attaining wealth, glory and true love while living a flawlessly moral life.

Of course, Gatsby's morality is questionable, yet he has wealth and a chance at some kind of love with Daisy. The fact that this love affair simultaneously fulfills the dream and compromises Gatsby's moral position qualifies the situation as one of glamour:

glamour is the impression of attraction or fascination that a particularly luxurious or elegant appearance creates, an impression which is better than the reality.

For Gatsby, the illusion is always prettier and better than the reality.

srcrowell's profile pic

srcrowell | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on


Interesting question.  Indeed the Great Gatsby encompasses many words, it is difficult to pin-point one in particular.  However, if I have to choose one I would say the one word that best describes the characters, the plot, etc. would be:



Due to the waste of money, the waste of life, the waste of the time period ("roaring 20s").  I would say that waste describes this story thoroughly, but there are other words that might do the job well, such as: disillusioned, corrupt, materialistic, users

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