Is Gatsby A Phony

Is Gatsby a phony or not?  Please give evidence from Chapter 3.

in chapter 3

Expert Answers
appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gatsby aspires to be something he's not. Daisy refuses to marry him, despite being in love with him, because he comes from a poor family, and she comes from a wealthy one. Everything Jay Gatsby does in his adult life is for one goal: winning Daisy back. And to do this he must become wealthy and a sophisticated man of culture. He is the classic self-made man, who makes a fortune and learns all of the etiquette of good breeding: how to act, how to speak, how to dress.

One could argue that, far from being "phony", his efforts to become a wealthy man who is worthy of Daisy's love is in fact an example of his determination and strength of character. His single-minded motivation also speaks of a purity of intention and thereby suggests Gatsby's strong personality.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you are just talking about this chapter, my opinion is that he is not a phony.  But I'll give you a little evidence each way.

You could say he's a phony because of the books.  He's bought all these books to make as if he's read them, but the pages aren't even cut apart.

But he seems pretty genuine in how he treats Nick.  He didn't have to invite him to the party in the first place.  And then when they met, he talked to him about the war -- he even recognized Nick.  That seems pretty real.  He also acted so regular that Nick didn't even realize he was Gatsby until he said so.

So in this chapter, I think he's not a phony.

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question