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Why is Gatsby Great? What are some reasons that Nick thinks of Jay Gatsby as The Great...
Topic: The Great Gatsby
Why is Gatsby Great?
What are some reasons that Nick thinks of Jay Gatsby as The Great Gatsby? I thought of some reasons as to why he thinks of him as the Great Gatsby but I would like some more details or more solid details. What about other characters, including Gatsby himself?
8 Answers | add yours
I would agree with renelane. Nick is a romantic, and while Gatsby's goal of "winning" Daisy could be the same as any competitor who wants to win, Nick attributes the cause to something more moral than materialistic. He says in Chapter 1 that when he left New York to return to the midwest, he had lost his belief that any human could be moral, with the exception of Gatsby. Now, Gatsby does many illegal things, but because he stays true to his emotions, Nick honors him.
Posted by sullymonster on December 14, 2007 at 9:49 AM (Answer #3)
High School Teacher
Walzzor makes a compelling point on this question, pointing out the performative nature of Gatsby's character. Gatsby is not only hiding his past from society (for the most part), he has also created a role for himself. The "monied man with manners and grace" might be one way to term the part he plays for society, covering his humble background.
Gatsby is not Gatsby but Jimmy Gatz, a poor boy from the Midwest—like Nick Carraway—who happened upon a chance that took him away from his life and gave him the opportunity to move into a different world.
The title of the novel then refers, to some extent, to the idea that "Gatsby" is a performed character - a show and a showman. He does not "belong" in the world of the wealthy elite and his outsider status is moral and social as well as historical. Yet, Gatsby poses as a person who does belong. So, in addition to Nick's astonishment at Gatsby's ability to dream and to pursue his dreams, Gatsby is also associated with the idea of playing a part.
Posted by e-martin on February 2, 2014 at 5:07 PM (Answer #10)
High School Teacher
Nick thinks Gatsby is great because he was able to create a new identity for himself when he needed to be someone else. Gatsby's determination and audacity are amazing to Nick. Gatsby focused on a goal, that of winning Daisy, and he did whatever was necessary to attain it.
Gatsby established that he would need wealth to keep Daisy in the manner she was accustomed to, and so he attained a "business" that would give him financial wealth. He studied mannerisms and expressions he thought would be what the social elite would say and do, and in this way , his gullibility is endearing.
Another aspect of Nick's admiration of Gatsby is the fact that he is a romantic at heart. Gatsby never veers from his goal and dream of winning Daisy, and even in the face of reality, his steadfast determination is admirable , if somewhat misguided.
Posted by renelane on November 29, 2007 at 1:07 PM (Answer #2)
I believe that Nick thought of Gatsby as great because of his unworldly love for Daisy. he took the blame for Daisy when she killed Myrtle, well at least he said he would, he never really got the chance seeing as how he died not long after.but the fact that he went through such great lenghts to attain what he thought daisy would want him to have so she would be with him, and promissing to cove for murder... that takes a great man.
Posted by heatherlee on May 16, 2008 at 4:36 AM (Answer #4)
When you hear someone referred to as "the great Gatsby," you should immediately think of a magician. A magician both looks the part and acts the part, but in reality is not actually magic. I think that renelane hits a good point when she says Gatsby was "able to create a new identity for himself when he needed to be someone else." The illusion of Gatsby, created by Jimmy Gatz, is what makes him "great."
Posted by walzzor on October 7, 2009 at 6:59 AM (Answer #5)
I don't think that Nick only believes Gatsby is great because of his perserverance in obtaining Daisy's love because it is not until mid way through the book that Nick even learns that Gatsby is seeking Daisy. There is something alluring about Gatsby from the very beginning..... but what? Nick is a hypocrite and claims to seek morality yet he dates the all too shallow Jordan, lies about his drinking habits and lives among the wealthy, while judging them the whole time.
Posted by cdhanley on March 24, 2010 at 7:15 PM (Answer #7)
High School Teacher
Most of the relevant issues have already been covered above, so I'll just add that whatever faults Gatsby has, he's still more likeable than the other characters Nick observes. Though Gatsby's frequent use of "Old Sport" may be ingratiating, he's still free of the character faults so many other characters exhibit: greed, cynicism, bigotry, laziness, etc.
Posted by dstuva on March 24, 2010 at 7:46 PM (Answer #8)
High School Teacher
I think that Gatsby is essentially 'great' because in Nick's eyes all that he did was for a noble cause. He was a criminal and had lavish parties, reflecting the corrupt nature of the 1920s, but he did for love. Nick sees this as a noble enough reason. Also the last lines of the novel suggest that Nick was impressed by Gatsbys unwavering hope 'Gatsby beleived in the green light' - symbolising expectation, hope. You could also that the other characters have bad motives: Daisy is only having the affair with Gatsby for money, Myrtle as well for money, and Tom is just the bad guy - cheating on his wife because he can.
Posted by lauren06 on May 2, 2012 at 9:12 AM (Answer #9)
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