How does "The Great Gatsby" relate to motifs of sports and race?

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dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First, "The Great Gatsby" relates to the motif of sports in terms of the cheating aspect that is presented in every sport mentioned in the novel.  Obviously, one of the larger themes of the novel deals with cheating -- almost all of the characters in the novel participate in some sort of cheating or lying.  First, Tom Buchannan is a polo player and is associated with cheating because he is constantly cheating on his wife with Myrtle and other women in his past.  Meyer Wolfshiem, who is Gatsby's link to the criminal underground, is credited with fixing the 1919 World Series.  Finally, Jordan Baker, a professional golfer, we are told cheated in a tournament and was disqualified.

Race and ethnicity is also a constant motif throughout the nove.  We know from the very first chapter that Tom is a total bigot and dislikes and looks down upon anyone who is not like him -- rich and white.  Additionally, the character of Meyer Wolfsheim is also important when looking at this motif becuase, first, he is presented as a cheater and, second, is always described in terms of his nose -- both being a commentary on his religious background and stereotyping it.

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The Great Gatsby

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