What is the significance of Mr. Gatz arrival in Chapter 9?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 9, Nick makes arrangements for Jay Gatsby's funeral and is disappointed to learn that none of Gatsby's former friends and acquaintances are in attendance. However, Henry C. Gatz travels from Minnesota to attend his son's funeral and is proud of Jay's financial accomplishments. Despite not knowing much about his son's journey to attain wealth, Henry tells Nick that Jay was a generous man and even bought him a home. He then shows Nick his son's "General Resolves" on the back cover of a Hopalong Cassidy book. Gatsby's impressive schedule as young man proves his dedication to bettering himself.

Henry Gatz's arrival is significant for several reasons. He provides insight into Jay Gatsby's driven mindset, which led to his financial success. Henry also reminds the reader of Gatsby's humble beginnings, which further humanizes Gatsby. The fact that Gatsby's father is the only person who genuinely cares about him enough to attend his funeral illuminates Gatsby's vain pursuit of wealth. While Gatsby pursued the American Dream, he failed to develop meaningful relationships, which is why his father is the only genuine person, except for Nick, attending his funeral.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Significance is a broad term. In my opinion, Mr. Gatz arrival symbolizes how alone Jay really was in his seemingly big life. Mr. Gatz knows very little, if any about the truth of Jay Gatsby's life today. The one person that came on the scene to honor the life of Jay was his father, an underinformed father. I think who Mr. Gatz was as a man demonstrates that life should be more about people and less about things. Obviously his connection with his son was of value to him, but for some reason it seems as if of late there has been great distance between the two. This should signal to readers that making the most of moments in life with those we care for is of utmost importance.

susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gatsby's father arrives to attend Gatsby's funeral.  His character serves several functions.  First of all, we learn what Gatsby was like as a boy. Mr. Gatz shows the notes  that the young James Gatz wrote in his Hopalong Cassidy book, and we learn that Gatsby had big dreams very early and was driven to achieve: "He was bound to get ahead."

We also are reminded of Gatsby's modest beginnings.  Mr. Gatz is a middle class man and was immensely proud of his son's financial accomplishments.  In this way, more pathos is created for Gatsby who had dared to aspire to such heights only to be brought down by the sadly mistaken grieving husband, George Wilson.

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The Great Gatsby

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