How is Gatsby introduced in the novel The Great Gatsby?

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Nick introduces Jay Gatsby as a figure who seems larger than life—even calling him only by his last name, "Gatsby," as though the man were on par with Madonna or Lizzo or Beyonce, some legendary star who needs only one name to be known—in the very first chapter. He describes...

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Nick introduces Jay Gatsby as a figure who seems larger than life—even calling him only by his last name, "Gatsby," as though the man were on par with Madonna or Lizzo or Beyonce, some legendary star who needs only one name to be known—in the very first chapter. He describes Gatsby as "gorgeous," a veritable innocent (ironically, given his criminal activities) who has an "extraordinary gift for hope." Gatsby believes in romance, specifically in his ability to rekindle and repeat a romance from the past, more so that any other person Nick says that he has ever known. Gatsby, it seems, is a dreamer.

Nick immediately introduces Gatsby as "all right," fundamentally more decent than the other people who are going to appear in the story, as he and his innocent dreams are juxtaposed with the "foul dust" that Nick says "floated in the wake of [them]." In other words, Gatsby's dreams are pure and good, as opposed to the actions, values, and behaviors of the others characters who will "prey" on him.

In short, then, Nick introduces Gatsby—even before we get to see the man for ourselves—as someone we ought to like, someone who is quintessentially good, despite the illegality of his occupation.

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The title character doesn't make an immediate appearance, furthering the suspense and mystery that surrounds the character of Jay Gatsby.

In the first chapter, Nick visits his cousin Daisy and her husband for a small dinner party. When Jordan remarks that he must know Gatsby, Daisy suddenly asserts, "Gatsby? What Gatsby?" However, the question lingers and is forgotten as dinner arrives.

Back at home, Nick spies his neighbor Gatsby as he stands with his arms "stretched out . . . toward the dark water in a curious way." Nick looks across the sea to determine Gatsby's focus, and in that moment, Gatsby disappears. The suspense builds.

In chapter 3, Nick is invited to one of Gatsby's parties where "men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars." As Nick makes his way among the party-goers, he cannot find the elusive host.

He stops to engage in conversation with a gentleman who remarks that Nick's face is familiar and asks if he was in the Third Division during the war. Nick affirms this information and goes on to state, "This is an unusual party for me. I haven't even seen the host."

His companion replies, "I'm Gatsby . . . I thought you knew, old sport."

Nick finally meets Gatsby in the midst of his display of wealth and excess, and the knowledge is brought about through delay and mystery. This mystery extends to the ultimate character of Jay Gatsby, who is intentionally deceptive in order to acquire his ultimate goal: Daisy.

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Gatsby is introduced by degrees. First he is prefaced, as a character and as an idea, in Nick's introduction to the story. In this moment, Gatsby's complexities are implied and he is associated with things for which Nick held "unaffected scorn", while also being exempted from this scorn. 

In the following pages, Nick begins his story and Gatsby becomes part of a conversation when Nick goes to dinner with Daisy, Tom and Jordan. Gatsby is mentioned in gossip and oblique hints. His stature is made to seem quite significant, though his background (and his actual person/personality) remains mysterious. 

In this way, Gatsby is presented as a larger than life figure, not just a man but a myth. This mystery and mythic aura remain attached to  Gatsby, even as he is revealed as a real person, with flaws, strengths, and odd habits of speech. 

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