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Characterization of Jay Gatsby

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In the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby is portrayed as a successful, larger-than-life young man, representing the “American Dream.” He is a romantic idealist who wishes to fulfill his dreams by amassing wealth in hopes of impressing and eventually winning the heart of the love of his life, Daisy. Jay Gatsby is a tragic hero in this novel, whose flaw lies in his inability to accept reality. His own corruption suggests the dishonesty of the current concept of the “American Dream.” Jay Gatsby was raised in an impoverish town in rural North Dakota with big dreams. He objected to the idea of ending up like those in his town, and sought out to find wealth at any account. Gatsby was able to reinvent himself despite were he started out, and in this way he signified the capability of anyone to achieve the “American Dream” with ambition. A handsome and wealthy man, he is looked at as being a great success in life. He was all anyone could ask for in life as far a big fancy house, nice cars, and lots of money.

Even though Gatsby’s always had a goal of becoming rich, when he met Daisy Buchanan and fell in love, his reasoning of acquiring wealth stemmed from a new desire. Jay Gatsby was a romantic, motivated by his love and desire. He was overly confident in his hopes and in his ability to have things go his own way, which caused his own downfall. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.” When reality did not match his perception, his life had a downward spiral, as an innocent man who wagered everything in his dreams.

As Jay Gatsby represents the good things of the perceived “American Dream,” Fitzgerald seems to use Gatsby as a way to prove the corruption and dishonesty that went along with this conception. Gatsby uses every means to become rich and acquire the life of luxury, even if it means participating in organized crime. This may suggests that the American Dream is not attainable through legitimate means, proposing that cheating the system is necessary. When Gatsby’s life crumbles, no one cares; and after he dies, no one attends his funeral. Even though he succeeded in reaching the “American Dream,” Gatsby is left without love, acceptance and respect.

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