Do you agree with Nick's final assertion that Gatsby is "worth the whole damn bunch put together"? Why or why not?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Nick Carraway seems to exist mainly to admire Gatsby, so it comes as no surprise that he should conclude with the assessment that Gatsby is "worth the whole damned bunch put together." Gatsby wouldn't have to be worth too much to be worth more than Tom and Daisy, who are a couple of parasites. Gatsby at least achieved success by his own talents and efforts. He is, however, a high-class crook. Fitzgerald doesn't give much information about how he made his fortune, but we know that most of the really successful bootleggers were thugs. Gatsby could have had people murdered. It is hard to accept a successful bootlegger who lives like a playboy and calls people "old sport." Fitzgerald was a very talented writer, but he was young and didn't know much about the underworld. Gatsby seems to have been making a lot of money just on his charm. good looks, and expensive wardrobe. He is probably better than a lot of the wealthy types Fitzgerald knew in the 1920s, but I don't consider him heroic. He threw his money away on worthless people and had a schoolboy fixation on a married woman who was an airhead. Readers might get a different impression of the "great" Gatsby if they didn't have Nick constantly explaining how "great" he was.

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