The Great Gatsby
The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word ?better? as ?greater than half; more attractive, favorable, or commendable?; but what really determines someone ?better? than the rest of society? Is it their wealth, their clothes, their personality, or their friends? Fitzgerald portrays Jay Gatsby as someone reaching the America Dream. ??If he?d lived he?d of been a great man. A man like James J. Hill. He?d of helped build up the country [, said Henry Gatz]?? (176). Jay Gatsby?s dad claims that Gatsby could have lived to become a great man, and to one day change the whole country. Although both Gatsby and Nick envision Gatsby's future accomplishments, Gatsby never gets the chance to prove him to be better than the rest of society by his actions and personality while living in New York. Throughout the book, Gatsby is in love with a married woman, Daisy Buchanan, by lying about his past life while accumulating as much wealth as he can. Nick Caraway sees Gatsby as a very successful man who takes action in hopes of accomplishing his one dream, happiness with Daisy. As Nick depicts Gatsby better than the rest of society, Fitzgerald uses the Character Jay Gatsby to reflect his personal view of ?The America Dream? influencing people to become untruthful about their past, and blinds themselves from the truth when involved with love.
Throughout the book, Jay Gatsby has wealth but continuously lies about his past and breaking former relationships. Society is very inquisitive about where Jay Gatsby was born and how he became so wealthy. After becoming acquaintances, Gatsby informs Nick that his wealth came from family. He claims to have attended Oxford and to have studied there for many years. ??I am the son of some wealthy people in the middle west-all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It was a family tradition?? (69). Strangely, Gatsby disregards any relationship with his family, claiming that they have all passed away. Since they are not as wealthy as him, he does not need relationship with them especially while he is building up all of his wealth. As Gatsby shows Nick the new house, Nick finds it peculiar of how Gatsby continuously changes the story of how he got his money.
?I think he was hardly knew what he was saying, for when I asked him what business he was in he answered ?That?s my affair,? before he realized that it wasn?t an appropriate reply. ?Oh, I?ve been in several things,? he corrected himself. ?I was in the drug business and then I was in the oil business. But I?m not on either one now? (95).
Gatsby tries to find the words to his story as if he was hiding something from this past he didn?t want others to know. By choosing his words carefully, he is able to persuade Nick that wealth was merely handed to him since birth with no further questions. Rumors circulate around New York and a report travels to the community in hopes of interviewing him. Having learned about Gatsby?s past, Nick tells the story of his real account. "An instinct toward his future glory had led the small Lutheran College of St Olaf's...[Gatsby] stayed there for two weeks...despising the janitor's work with which he was to pay his way through?on the day that Dan Cody?s yacht dropped anchor on shallows of the shore" (105). Caught up with the profits he has received, Gatsby fails to recognize the truth about the person who he once traveled with and taught him everything he knows, Dan Cody. The society consists of: people who are fans of money, people who own money, those who work hard for their families, and those who are unfaithful to their spouse. Jay Gatsby proves himself the same as the rest of individuals living in society by having wealth but continues to disregard the truth to himself and everyone else around him.