What did Gatsby do as a child to help himself become a success?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gatsby's determination to better himself is made evident in the daily schedule he devised for himself, along with a list of the "general resolves." He wrote them on the last, blank page of a copy of Hopalong Cassidy as a boy, and Mr. Gatz shows this to Nick in chapter nine.The concept is likely inspired by Benjamin Franklin's pursuit of "moral perfection" as outlined in his autobiography; it, too, has a daily schedule and list of desired behaviors and qualities he called "virtues."

According to young Jimmy Gatz's daily schedule, he would rise at 6 a.m. to exercise for thirty minutes. He would study for an hour, work for eight hours, exercise for another thirty minutes, spend an hour working on "elocution" and "poise" and then study "needed inventions" for two hours before bed.

The "general resolves" include not wasting time, avoiding tobacco, bathing, reading, saving money, and being "better to parents."

In short, Gatsby developed goals and the discipline it takes to see them through.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.

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The Great Gatsby

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