Fr. C. Mulvihill
December 4, 2009
When one thinks of “greatness” you would most likely, not associate Jay Gatsby with this adjective. Jay Gatsby is a man of greed, lust, jealousy and low morals. However, Gatsby is, in more than one sense, truly great when you see analyze him carefully. Perhaps not in the most obvious ways does Gatsby portray greatness, but the novel is rightly titled and Nick is correct in his description of this timeless icon of American fiction.
When thinking of greatness, people generally think of morals and ethics and positive qualities. However, Gatsby is great just like a magician or performer would call themselves, “The Great Geraldo” as an example. The title alone, The Great Gatsby, displays a sense of allure and mystery. This is a very good representation of the character of Jay Gatsby. Gatsby definitely puts on a show for the people around him. Just like a cheesy performer, he puts on his fake façade and his spectacular displays in order to wow the audience. Gatsby’s entire persona is fake, just like that of a performer. Just as a performer’s set, props and costume are all fake and cheap; Gatsby’s money is fake as well. This is because he gains his money through dishonest ways such as “bootlegging” (Fitzgerald 61). Gatsby, like a magician, lives a life of mystery. Though he throws lavish parties, he rarely attends then and few people actually know even who he is. Gatsby’s personality could obviously be considered “great” as well. He uses phrases such as “old sport” The comparison that is brought up in this novel between Gatsby and a performer is very suitable and it is easy to see why Nick refers to him as “The Great Gatsby.”
Gatsby can also be considered a great person because of the way he presents himself. It is undeniable that he is a grand individual. Greatness, as described by dictionary application for Macintosh, is described as “an amount, extent or intensity considerably above...