The "Great" Gatsby

Essay by robdlsCollege, UndergraduateA, July 2009

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In the novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway introduces the reader to the main character, Jay Gatsby. Jay Gatsby is wealthy man who lives in the West Egg area of Long Island, home to those who recently became associated with money. He throws extravagant parties every weekend, but is a mysterious character that his guests do not know much about. As the novel progresses, we learn about the mystery behind Jay Gatsby and the characteristics that make him a "great" individual.

"Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had" (Fitzgerald 5). Nick begins the novel by stating that he is a nonjudgmental individual, but informs us that Gatsby represents everything he scorns about New York. Despite this fact, Nick sees Gatsby as an entirely different individual and exempts him from his reactions.

Nick notes Gatsby's "great" personality as the reason for his exemption. "If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life" (Fitzgerald 12). The novel continues as Nick seeks out the mystery of "great" Gatsby.

One evening, Nick joins the festivities at Gatsby's party and notes the extravagance while searching for the host. After some time at the party, Nick engages in conversation with a man whom he was in the war with. We learn that this man is Gatsby, who claims to be a poor host. Nick details the smile on Gatsby's face, "He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it that you may come across four or five times in life" (Fitzgerald 52). The smile gave Nick a feeling of importance...