In The Great Gatsby, what all does Jay Gatsby lie about?

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Stephanie Gregg eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a very interesting question.  Believe it or not, you might actually debate whether he told outright lies about many things at all!  You can say he definitely lied when he said his parents were dead, as his dad showed up at his funeral.  And of course, he lied for Daisy by saying he was driving the car that killed Myrtle.  But other than these, he told lots of half-truths.  Are half-truths necessarily lies?  For example, Tom asks about Gatsby being an "Oxford man." He says he did, indeed, attend the elite university; but only for five months, and only because the military paid the bill.  He tells Daisy that he owns drug stores. When Tom confronts him on this one, we learn that it's true--Gatsby (and some shady partners) does own a few drug stores, but they are just fronts for selling Prohibition alcohol.  You might say that Gatsby lies about his past, about his background.  But to him, the past that he created for Jay Gatsby, the one that buried James Gatz, IS his truth.  Ironically, the only outright lies ("They say he murdered a man!") to note are those created FOR him, not by him.

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