" Gatsbys world is corrupt but ultimately glamourous." How do you respond to this view of the novel?

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

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One dictionary offers these definitions of “glamour”:

  • the quality of fascinating, alluring, or attracting, especially by a combination of charm and good looks…
  • magic or enchantment; spell; witchery.


We can see both of these definitions at work in The Great Gatsby. The world of Gatsby is pointedly alluring. It is full of famous and beautiful people. Gatsby’s parties draw many powerful and elegant people.


Yet, the power possessed by these guests is often elusive and has more to do with perception than anything actual. The only power is the power to persuade. And this is the nature of power and glamour in the novel – glamour is a bluff.


Gatsby is fully engaged with the notion of enchantment. He is enchanted, by a dream, by a woman, and he enchants the social set with his wealth, his mansion, and his poise. It’s fake. It’s all fake.


That is why it is glamour, not beauty.