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The reasons behind the lack of attendees at Gatsby's funeral in The Great Gatsby

Summary:

The lack of attendees at Gatsby's funeral in The Great Gatsby is due to his superficial relationships. Despite his lavish parties, Gatsby's connections were shallow, based on the allure of his wealth rather than genuine friendship. Consequently, very few people felt a personal bond with him, resulting in a sparsely attended funeral.

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Why does Nick struggle to find attendees for Gatsby's funeral in Chapter 9 of The Great Gatsby?

Daisy Buchanan was unable to attend because her husband Tom and she had packed up and left the area without leaving any information about where they were going or how they could be reached.

Meyer Wolfsheim wrote to tell Nick of his shock at hearing the news of Gatsby's death but explained the he was "tied up in some very important business and cannot get mixed up in this thing now." A subsequent phone call from a mutual acquaintance of Gatsby and Wolfsheim reports that another individual, Parke, has just been arrested. Wolfsheim cared for Gatsby only as he could help with his illegal activities.

Mr. Klipspringer boarded with Gatsby for a time but never intended for their relationship to be one of anything other than convenience. He was staying with friends in another part of the state at the time of Gatsby's death and couldn't be bothered to change his plans and come back for the funeral.

As Nick discovered, Gatsby had many superficial relationships but very few based on true friendship.

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In The Great Gatsby, why does no one attend Gatsby's funeral?

Part of what makes Gatsby such a tragic figure is the way people completely neglect him at his funeral. Nick Carraway, Gatsby's one true friend, assumes the responsibility of organizing his funeral but has difficulty convincing people to attend the ceremony. One of the primary reasons nobody attends is Gatsby's enigmatic, aloof nature. Although Gatsby hosted elaborate summer parties at his magnificent mansion in West Egg, he did not interact with his guests, was not from the region, and purposely assumed a low profile to avoid the authorities.

With the exception of Nick Carraway, Gatsby never allowed anyone close enough to get to know him. Even the love of his life did not recognize he was a self-made man, a notorious bootlegger from a lower-class family. Additionally, the people Gatsby associated with were selfish, shallow individuals who took advantage of him when the opportunity presented itself. Gatsby's guests were more than happy to attend his parties, consume his alcohol, and enjoy his mansion throughout the summer. However, they are too self-centered to exercise sympathy for him by attending his funeral. They view it as an inconvenience and see no benefit in attending the ceremony. Even Gatsby's business partner and close friend Meyer Wolfsheim refuses to go, claiming, "When a man gets killed I never like to get mixed up in it in any way. I keep out."

Since Tom and Daisy are self-absorbed individuals and indirectly responsible for Gatsby's death, they also miss his funeral. Daisy never shared the same feelings for him and immediately skipped town with her husband shortly after Myrtle's death. Sadly, only Nick, Mr. Gatz, several servants, the West Egg mailman, and Owl Eyes are present for the ceremony. Gatsby is laid to rest with little support or fanfare, which underscores the futility of the American Dream and the shallow nature of those who preyed upon him.

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In The Great Gatsby, why does no one attend Gatsby's funeral?

When Gatsby was alive, many people were more than happy to turn up to his legendary parties, eat his food, and drink his booze. But now, in the wake of his tragic death, none of them can be bothered to turn up to his funeral.

And it's not hard to see why. Hardly anyone really knew Gatsby. Most people didn't even recognize him at his parties. Gatsby used to melt into the background without anyone really noticing him.

Because most of his guests never knew him, they used to come up with all kinds of crazy myths and stories about him, all of which only added to the mystery of Jay Gatsby.

Although no one really knew Gatsby, everyone wanted something from him, whether it was free food and booze or money. But now that Gatsby's dead, they can no longer take a piece of him; they can no longer get anything out of him. He's no further use to all those parasites and freeloaders, and so there's really no need for them to show up to his funeral and pay their respects.

In fact, they didn't really respect him in life, so it's not surprising that they're unwilling and unable to do likewise now that he's six feet under.

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In The Great Gatsby, why does no one attend Gatsby's funeral?

At the end of The Great Gatsby, Nick has a difficult time getting guests to attend Gatsby’s funeral. This is because few people were actually close to Gatsby or cared enough about him to go. Sure, lots of people attended his lavish parties when he was alive, but they came because they wanted to have a good time, not because they knew the host well or wanted to spend time getting to know him.

Meanwhile, Gatsby himself was more preoccupied with what these large parties represented and how they might attract Daisy’s attention than getting to know his guests. He did not give too much honest information away about himself or form close bonds with lots of people. But he was a kind, generous person, almost to a fault, and the people around him took advantage of that.

Meanwhile, a few of the people that did spend substantial one-on-one time with Gatsby do not come to the funeral either, because they are quite self-centered. Wolfsheim, for instance, says he would like to attend but can’t because he never likes to get "mixed up in it" when a man gets killed. And Daisy, the woman that Gatsby was so hopelessly in love with, does not even send a message or flowers. She and her husband, Tom, left town after Daisy killed Myrtle, showing little gratitude for the fact that Gatsby took the fall for Daisy.

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In The Great Gatsby, why does no one attend Gatsby's funeral?

Nick couldn't get people to come to Gatsby's funeral because nearly all the people who Gatsby knew or who knew him were people who simply had used him to get something from him.  The people who came to his parties simply wanted a good time, free food, and free drink.  Klipspringer was just a mooch, a parasite, who lived with one rich host after another always sponging from them.  Wolfshiem said that he preferred to honor people when they were alive, but he couldn't afford to be too closely associated with a case that might bring him under legal scrutiny either since his living was made mostly illegally.  Daisy and Tom left the country in their usual irresponsible, uncaring way.  As long as Gatsby was alive and could give people something, those people were his "friends", but as soon as he died, he was nothing more than some poor schmuck whom nobody knew.

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In The Great Gatsby, why does no one attend Gatsby's funeral?

After Gatsby's death, Nick, his only true friend, arranges for the funeral and tries desperately to get other people who knew Gatsby to come and show their respects. The only ones who show up are Henry Gatz, Gatsby's father, the owl-eyed man, who Nick had met in the library at one of Gatsby's parties,  the minister and a few servants. None of the hundreds of guests who had attended Gatsby's parties bothered to come, which is significant because it shows that while he was alive they were very happy to drink his liquor, dance to his music and enjoy his benevolence but now that he is dead, they have no more use for him. Even Gatsby's business partner, Meyer Wolfsheim, doesn't attend and his words to Nick were:

"Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead."

It is more likely that Wolfsheim wants to hide his association with Gatsby, especially after the scandal surrounding the death. Most upsetting to Nick is that Daisy does not come to the funeral, nor does she bother to call. She and Tom had quickly left the country for an extended trip abroad, in order to avoid any repercussions regarding Myrtle Wilson's death.

In the end, Gatsby's funeral, unlike his parties, was a somber and lonely affair. No one showed up because Gatsby hadn't really cultivated friendships or personal relationships with anyone, except for Nick and of course, Daisy.

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In The Great Gatsby, why does no one attend Gatsby's funeral?

Jay Gatsby was a figment of his own time and place - hardly substantive.  No one knew who James Gatz was.  When he gave way to the persona of Jay Gatsby is when the real death occured.  The funeral that Nick tried to get people to attend would have been more appropriate years ealier when Jay started seeking a reunion with Daisy.  Gatsby proves the line from Don Henley's Boys of Summer..."don't look back, you can never look back."

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In The Great Gatsby, why does no one attend Gatsby's funeral?

No one really was close with Gatsby. No one knew him beyond being an acquaintance. His party crowd just used him for the parties, his wealth and social standing: being associated with him. In fact, no one really knew him at all. His entire role as Gatsby was a facade. His whole personality, while it may have held traces of his actual personality, was made up. More to the point, no one went to his funeral, because the people Gatsby knew were shallow, self-serving snobs. When Gatsby died, they most likely looked for the next party house. Gatsby's only real friends were Nick and Daisy: both of whom knew the real man: Gatz.

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