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mrs-tolley eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A dynamic character is a character who changes, grows, or learns through the events of the story. Although Gatsby has changed a lot, most of his changes occurred before the story began, so it's difficult to consider Gatsby a dynamic character.

Throughout the novel, he holds on to the idealistic dream of getting Daisy. Through the course of Nick's narration, we learn that Gatsby fell for Daisy five years before the beginning of the novel, and spent those years amassing a great fortune to impress Daisy. At the end of Gatsby's story, when he is in his pool just before George shoots him, Gatsby is still holding onto the hope that Daisy will call.

One small change we can see in Gatsby's character is that he becomes more confident around Daisy. When Gatsby and Daisy are first reunited, in Nick's small house, Gatsby is very nervous and even thinks he has made a mistake in reintroducing himself to Daisy. Nick has to tell him to stop acting like a little boy and go talk to Daisy. Later, in chapter seven when Gatsby, Nick, Tom, Daisy, and Jordan go to the Plaza Hotel, Gatsby boldly tells Tom that Daisy loves him and has never loved Tom. By this scene, he is more confident in claiming ownership of Daisy.

Another minor change that can be seen in Gatsby's character also occurs in the Plaza Hotel scene. Gatsby has been very secretive about his past throughout the story, but in the Plaza Hotel when Tom confronts him about Oxford, Gatsby suddenly reveals the truth: that he attended Oxford for five months in an army program. Gatsby has created his mysterious, glamourous persona so that he can win Daisy. Perhaps in this scene he believes that he has achieved his goal, and can begin to be more truthful about his past.

So Gatsby can be thought of as a slightly dynamic character through these two minor shifts in his character: he becomes more confident with Daisy, and he becomes more honest about his past. However, Gatsby dies still erroneously holding on to the dream that he can relive the past with Daisy, so he doesn't learn much through the course of the story.

Kathryn Draney eNotes educator| Certified Educator
  • Gatsby is a dynamic character because of two shifts in his personality. Over the course of the novel he becomes more confident with Daisy, and he becomes more honest about his past.
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The Great Gatsby

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