Gatsby…Great?


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English 11


March 11, 2004


The greatness of a being is not to be determined by themselves, but by others who experience their greatness through actions and words. The greatness of Jay Gatsby was evident to others in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. The novel tells a tale of upper-class members of society, of which Gatsby is, and their flaws in their character. This tightly woven tale of love and the American dream all ends poorly for most, all of whom have major flaws in their nature. The greatness of Gatsby might have been questioned by many, but his greatness was evident, especially to Daisy Buchanan, the one he truly loves, to others throughout the novel. Gatsby’s greatness emits from the tremendousness of the parties he holds, the immensity of his dreams, in the grandeur and size of his language, but mainly, the deep love he has for Daisy.


The immense size of the parties that Gatsby regularly throws and all the fanatical activities that occur during these parties help lead to the greatness of Gatsby. Gatsby regularly held parties, almost every weekend, that were not simple, inexpensive parties. The parties that Gatsby throws are full of people not invited dancing the night away and drinking excessively. The parties are basically three-ring circuses in Gatsby’s own backyard. His parties draw much attention throughout the novel, but it is attention from the wrong crowd. He throws these parties to hopefully see Daisy again and fall back in love with her. According to Jeffery Steinbrink, “Gatsby’s dream…obscures his vision of the world as it is and clouds his understanding of the historical process.” At one point in chapter three, Nick Carraway has to tell Gatsby that he cannot change or repeat the past – the past is the way it is and there is nothing he can do about it. Gatsby does not realize this, and he also does not realize that the people that come to his immense parties would not attract the attention of Daisy. The people of West Egg do not associate with the people of East Egg, and vice-versa. This fact causes Daisy to stay away from the parties he throws until she finally attends one of his parties. At the party, Daisy does not have fun because the people Gatsby surrounds


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himself with are not as great as him. The greatness of the dreams Gatsby has is not enough to overcome the degrading surroundings and people he is associated with.


Gatsby wants to achieve the “American dream” through his wealth and all the extravagant things he does. His greatest wish is to be with Daisy again, and to accomplish this through repeating the past with her. He says that the past can be repeated, but Nick Carraway reputes him, saying that the past cannot be repeated, at which Gatsby scoffed. Another part of Gatsby’s personality, which happens to be a great flaw in his character, was the fact that he always wishes to attain what is unattainable. The greatest wish that was unattainable by Gatsby was the wish to be with Daisy. Gatsby’s entire world revolves around Daisy and his relationship with her. If he realizes that Daisy is unattainable, most of the following problems would diminish. The great cost to Gatsby for the parties would diminish because the main reason Gatsby holds the parties is to attract Daisy’s attention. Gatsby would not have built the house where he did, if Daisy had not lived across the bay. According to Novelguide.com, as “…Gatsby remains fully committed to his aspirations up until his death, he struggles with the reality of when those aspirations for his American Dream are either achieved or, in Gatsby's case, proven inaccessible.”(Novelguide.com np). Gatsby, although he realizes that some of these excessive dreams cannot be accomplished, he proves how great he is in that he never gives up on his dreams. He pursues his visions until he is killed. This, along with Gatsby’s elegance in the language he uses everyday.


Gatsby is a very eloquent speaker throughout the whole novel. This grace he speaks with adds to the greatness that is known as Gatsby. Nick Carraway says of Gatsby, “[i]f personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there