How does Yann Martel's quote relate to The Great Gatsby? ''You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it."

Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Martel's quote reflects what had been Gatsby's view of life when he was a boy. As Jimmy Gatz, he was born to a poor farm family in North Dakota. His life was drab and unfulfilling. He dreamed of a richer, fuller, more exciting, and more glamorous life. He harbored a great romantic dream of what life could be. Fitzgerald wrote of Jimmy Gatz, "[H]is heart was in a constant, turbulent riot."

Jimmy Gatz worked hard to earn money, saved some of what he earned, and tried to improve himself. He tried to educate himself and become more polished. He wanted desperately to succeed. When he was seventeen, Jimmy ran away from home, tried college for a while, and then met wealthy Dan Cody. Meeting Cody, Jimmy gave himself the name "Jay Gatsby" and tried to forget who he was and where he had come from.

During his five years with Cody, who was really very wealthy, Gatsby sailed on Cody's yacht, saw some of the world, and became somewhat more sophisticated. It was his first encounter with the glamour he had dreamed of as a boy. He would go on to amass great wealth and live what appeared to be a romantic life.

However, Martel's quote as it relates to The Great Gatsby is ironic. Jimmy Gatz took his life as it was and tried to make it better, but in his attempts, he threw his life away by trying to be someone he was not.

Read the study guide:
The Great Gatsby

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question