Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Nick Carraway, the narrator. A young Midwesterner who was dissatisfied with his life at home, he was attracted to New York and now sells bonds there. He is the most honest character of the novel and because of this trait fails to become deeply fascinated by his rich friends on Long Island. He helps Daisy and Jay Gatsby to renew a love they had known before Daisy’s marriage, and he is probably the only person in the novel to have any genuine affection for Gatsby.
Jay Gatsby, a fabulously rich racketeer whose connections outside of the law are only guessed at. He is the son of poor parents from the Middle West. He has changed his name from James Gatz and becomes obsessed with a need for making more and more money. Much of his time is spent in trying to impress, and become accepted by, other rich people. He gives lavish parties for people he knows nothing about and most of whom he never meets. He is genuinely in love with Daisy Buchanan and becomes a sympathetic character when he assumes the blame for her hit-and-run accident. At his death, he has been deserted by everyone except his father and Nick.
Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s second cousin. Unhappy in her marriage because of Tom Buchanan’s deliberate unfaithfulness, she has the character of a “poor little rich girl.” She renews an old love for Jay Gatsby and considers leaving her husband, but she is finally reconciled to him. She kills Tom’s mistress in a...
(The entire section is 627 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Great Gatsby Characters. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!