What role does Meyer Wolfsheim play in the novel The Great Gatsby?
Why is there so much focus on his nose and what does that tell you about Fitzgerald's politice?
Meyer Wolfsheim, as you probably recall, was Gatsby's "mob" connection. We are told that Wolfsheim "fixed" the 1919 world series, so we know he is involved with gambling and that he has enough power and money to get big things like world series taken care of...so we are pretty sure he is part of some organized crime syndicate.
He is charming, and polite and lives the life of the rich...which makes him and his lifestyle alluring to people like Gatsby who aspire to joining the ranks of the elite.
His role, I think, is to show the reader that the seemingly slick life of the rich, underworld lifestyle isn't as glamourous as it seems. At their lunch meeting, it seemed as if Wolfsheim cared about Gatsby. He was complimentary and gushy and adoring. However, when Gatsby died, he couldn't be bothered to attend the funeral or get involved in anyway...because that would compromise him. (It's kind of the "no honor among thieves" theme)
As to his big nose (and the last name Wolfsheim)...the stereotype is that those of the Jewish religious have big noses and that they are greedy...often stepping on anyone they have to get rich...and then hoarding their riches for themselves. Throughout history Jews have been portrayed as ruthless money-makers...and I think it is this that Fitzgerald was trying to portray. What this says to me about the author's politics is that he was a bit of an anti-semite.
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