What makes Jay Gatsby so special?

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  • Post last modified:July 9, 2017

Character Analysis of Jay Gatsby

Jay Gatsby is introduced in Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ as a very rich man. His real identity is a mystery for most. The protagonist of Fitzgerald’s novel is unique and has acquired enormous wealth. Gastby is charming, rich and romantic. His life is a dream for even the rich people in West Egg. People think he has come to West Egg to spoil like the other ones around. However, as the story progresses the reality turns out to be different. Gatsby is there to find his lost love. Under his rich avatar, Gatsby is a lover, trying to find his love back. Fitzgerald’s creation is concerned with two things mainly. First is Gatsby’s painful romance and the second is the moral decay of the era.


Gatsby is fabulously rich and lives a lavish life  in his stylish mansion.  He throws spectacular parties, that people of West Egg flock to in herds. Nick cannot avoid thinking of him as rich and vulgar but nonetheless great for his extreme love for ‘Daisy’ and his mad pursuit of his dream. There are people who adore Gastby and those who despise him. Nick is his friend and confidant who provides the readers with a glimpse of Gastby’s past. Gastby has not acquired his wealth by honest means but through organized crime. He is introduced early in the book as a charming, rich and mysterious fellow, who is a stranger for most of those who flock to his parties regularly. He is one of the newly arrived at West Egg. The mystery around his character lends it a special appeal making it look deep and serious, just like he is charming and fun loving at the surface. Rumours abound regarding his wealth and his parties are the talk of the town. As the story unfolds, we also learn of some not so impressive facts about him like how he gained his wealth.  Gatbsy stands out for his extraordinary love mainly. He is highly romantic, and his love for Daisy is true. Simultaneously, he is handsome enough to inspire jealousy in others’ hearts. Particularly, Daisy’s husband is always miffed by his presence. He is back to find Daisy, who is Daisy Buchanan after her marriage with Tom Buchanan. Yet, this does not affect Gatsby’s love for her.

 

Jay Gatsby is a rags to riches story; he is a millionaire having risen from a humble background. A son of unsuccessful small farmers, Gatsby could not remain satisfied with his fate. His desire for more took him on  a path he had not reckoned for himself. It was his poverty that  he could not win Daisy. The loss and painful frustration drive him on a new path. He leaves his world behind to acquire wealth and to return richer beyond dreams. And so he does. Gastby is a self made man which is an admirable fact. Even he does not know much about the people that flock to his parties and is neither interested in. He is interested only in Daisy. Along the way, he gets to be friends with Nick; knowing that he is Daisy’s cousin. Nick helps him get closer to her. The Great Gatsby is also a novel depicting the drama in the lives of the wealthy. Jay Gatsby has set his plot well and uses his wealth to get closer to Daisy. However, while trying to find his dream, he is led closer to his death. Wealth, immorality, corruption, love and several other issues are dealt with in the novel. Throughout the novel, Nick stands behind Gatsby examining and appreciating his honest love. In this crowd of the wealthy and corrupt there is no one else that Gatsby can rely upon.

 

Gatsby remains just as great in his death as he was unique in his life. His pursuit of his dream proves futile but his reluctance to let it go proves him great. He is an optimist till death. In this regard he is also vastly different from Daisy’s husband. All the time Gatsby tries to regain a past that he had lost long back. When he finds Daisy, she is married to another rich man. However, he is not deterred. The novel shows how Gatsby values his love above everything and  even his wealth. He is hurt that he has lost her once and cannot lose her again. A dream is a powerful notion and Fitzgerald has captured the beauty of Gatsby’s romantic dream in his work beautifully. Among the rich, the vulgar and the spoilt where every meaning of love is lost, the richest one is trying hard to win his love back.  Strong characterization and great emotional melodrama are some outstanding features of this novel that Fitzgerald wrote exploring the life during the early to mid-1920s. At the centre of the novel is still Gatsby’s love and his longing for Daisy. Sometimes he even appears cunning, but this fox like trait only makes him more admirable. Fitzgerald’s novel knits two different themes into one very well. The first is the pain of not finding one’s love and the second is the moral decay that wealth can cause. The true meaning and value of the novel can be best understood by seeing it in its historical context and the era in which it was written. The wealth and grandeur of the era and the immorality and soullessness are all well depicted in the work. However, Gatsby stands out as a character and his strength mainly lies in the strength of his love.

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.