Please describe Jay Gatsby from three different characters' points of view in The Great Gatsby.

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Daisy thinks of Gatsby with the excitement and butterflies that come with rekindling an old flame, focusing mostly on his good looks and his riches.  She makes a point to stand aghast when she first sees Gatsby's house.  "'That huge place there?'" she cried pointing. . . . With enchanting murmurs Daisy admired this aspect or that of the feudal silhouette against the sky" (92).  Eventually Daisy becomes smothered and cornered by Gatsby's love, exclaiming, "Oh, you want too much! . . . I love you now--isn't that enough?  I can't help what's past" (133).

Tom regards Gatsby at best with suspicion and at worst with disdain.  Tom knows, even when he isn't sure of the exact details, that something is going on between Gatsby and Daisy.  "'Who is this Gatsby anyhow?' demanded Tom suddenly.  'Some big bootlegger?'" (109).  Even when Tom confronts Gatsby, the same suspicion and disdain can be heard again.  "That's one of his little stunts.  I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn't far wrong" (134).  In addition, one cannot deny Tom's purpose behind telling Wilson exactly who owned the yellow car.

Nick regards Gatsby with a mixture of admiration and disapproval, but always with confusion.  Even Gatsby himself catches Nick "looking with admiration at his car" (64).  Suddenly, Nick hears secondhand that Gatsby wants to meet Daisy at Nick's house.  Utter confusion ensues.  "The modesty of the demand shook me.  [Gatsby] had waited five years and bought a mansion . . . so that he could 'come over' some afternoon to a stranger's garden" (80).  Near the end when Nick tells Gatsby that he is "worth the whole damn bunch put together," Nick says, "It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end" (154).  Thus, Nick is an enigma as well.