The Truly Great Gatsby


Class: ENG4AO


Date: March 30, 2000



The Truly Great Gatsby


Hopes and dreams are needed to give man\'s efforts a meaning, or a purpose. Pushing towards some ideal is how man can feel a sense of his own identity. In the novel The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a man with tremendous and “infinite hope” (Fitzgerald, 6). To be able to accomplish life long dream, one must have strong determination that can in no way be weakened by any obstacles one might face. It is the hope of achieving your dream that keeps you from wandering away from it and guides you to the right path. In order to achieve his dream, Gatsby was motivated, optimistic and brave. Whether or not he eventually was able to accomplish this dream, having these qualities in a person certainly indicate that this person, or Gatsby, is a hopeful person who has “some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life” (Fitzgerald, 6)


Gatsby was a motivated person because he had a purpose and goal for his life. The Buchanans are a great contrast to Gatsby’s character. Their sheltered lives, filled with material possessions and luxuries, yet empty of purpose, proved how people with all the material needs tend to lose sight of their ultimate purpose in life. Daisy\'s complaining was very significant, "What\'ll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that, and the next thirty years?" (Fitzgerald, 125.) In contrast, Gatsby was different from the Buchanans. Gatsby, with his “extraordinary gift of hope” (Fitzgerald, 6) placed in comparison to the aimlessness of Tom and Daisy, reaches heroic nobility. Although Gatsby’s quest to bring back the love of his life, Daisy, was marked by obsession, it played an important role in motivating him by establishing a purpose for his life. When he was in his teen years, Gatsby was a poor man who did not have what it took to marry rich people, like Daisy. This lack of wealth motivated Gatsby and made him determined to work hard in order to become rich and regain Daisy’s love. He worked hard to reach his goal and was eventually able to achieve it as a result of his optimism and endless determination.


Another evidence of Gatsby’s motivation is his productive daily schedule which he set for himself. His father tells Nick about it:


Look here, this is a book he had when he was a boy. It just shows you…


Rise from bed ………………………………………….. 6.00 AM


Dumbbell exercise and wall scaling ………………… 6.15-6.30 “


Study electricity, etc. …………………………………. 7.15-8.15 “





Work ……………………………………………………. 8.30-4.30 “


Baseball and sports …………………………………... 4.30-5.00 P.M.


Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it ……… 5.00-6.00 “


Study needed inventions ……………………………... 7.00-9.00 “

GENERAL RESOLVESNo wasting time at Shafters or [a name, indecipherable]
No more smoking or chewing


Bath every other day


Read one improving book or magazine per week


Save $5.00 [crossed out] $3.00 per week


Be better to parents (Fitzgerald, 181).





This schedule clearly illustrates Gatsby’s motivation. He was “bound to get ahead” (Fitzgerald, 182). His “no wasting time” rule and “read one improving book” habit were his means of improving himself and therefore accomplishing his dream.


Gatsby was optimistic because he never lost hope of achieving his dream. Many people had tried to discourage his optimism, but Gatsby was strong enough to stand to these discouragements. For example, when Nick said to Gatsby, “You can’t repeat the past.” Gatsby replied, “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!” (Fitzgerald, 116). Gatsby believed that nothing was impossible. Through optimism and other means, he could achieve all of his dreams. Gatsby’s optimism also extended to the way he perceived Daisy’s love towards him. When, at the hotel, he was in an argument with Tom regarding whom did Daisy really love, he said to Tom confidently, “Your wife doesn’t love you. She’s never loved you. She loves me.” (Fitzgerald, 137) Although Gatsby did not really know who did Daisy really love the most, his optimism and hope that Daisy was actually in love with him more than Tom was the main reason why he declared this statement.


Gatsby showed tremendous bravery by taking the responsibility of Myrtle’s death. When Nick asked him after the accident, “Was Daisy driving?” Brave Gatsby replied, “Yes… But of course I’ll say I was” (Fitzgerald, 151).