In The Great Gatbsy, how does Gatsby plan to improve himself, what are the steps in his personal development and is he successful?

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

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Gatsby writes his resolves down in a list as a young man. 

Gatsby’s day began at an early 6:00 for exercise, study, work, sports, elocution, and poise as well as general resolves such as “saving $3.00 per week” and “being better to parents.”

These plans are directed toward self-improvement in terms of character and physical being. They are patterned after Ben Franklin's list of virtues (eNotes). These resolves demonstrate Gatsby's conventional state of mind as a young man as well as his ambition to progress and to change himself.

While these resolves are generically moral, they eventually fade and are replaced by a larger sense of ambition without morality and self-creation that leads to isolation (not to a greater love of parents, or anyone). Gatsby's direction is not ultimately aligned with his list of resolves but with the impulse that led him to write that list - a will to succeed.  


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