In The Great Gatsby, Chapter IX, what is the pathos of Gatsby's youthful resolutions?

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Gatsby's list of resolutions, along with his daily schedule, seems sad when we think of how his life turned out (filled with such loss and longing) and how he died, so violently and alone. Written in the back of his Hopalong Cassidy cowboy book, Gatsby's resolutions show how hard he tried to overcome the poverty into which he was born as a North Dakota farm boy and how dedicated he was in his quest for a better life. They also reveal his efforts, doing all within his power at the time, to improve himself as a person. He set about to avoid wasting time, to improve his mind, and to save what little money he could. The entry to bathe every other day can be a little amusing, considering that boys and baths are not always compatible, but even this entry suggests Gatsby's drive to rise above his circumstances. The impoverished Gatz family, no doubt, did not enjoy indoor plumbing, and taking a bath in a North Dakota farm house in the early 1900s would not have been a matter of convenience, especially during the cold months. Finally, Gatsby's last entry shows he had a good heart, an active conscience, and a loving nature: "Be better to parents." 

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