Jay Gastby

Character Analysis Project

Who Gatsby is

  • I think the color green represents Gatsby becomes it symbolizes hope and the past. Hope is what he had, if he had no hope, he would have no motivation to become wealthy or the determination to reunite with Daisy. Daisy has a green light on her porch and Gatsby looks at it at night. “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water…nothing except a single green light,” (Fitzgerald 20). Seeing the green gave him hope and so he reached out his arms as if reaching to grab his goal. The green is a daily reminder of what his goal is and that someday he will achieve it. "Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever....Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one," (Fitzgerald 98). Gatsby eventually achieves his goal which is reuniting with Daisy. He then does not need to look at the light for hope anymore, but it seems as if he looks at the light in awe of how the green light gave him hope in which helped him reunite with Daisy. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us,” (Fitzgerald 180). Gatsby looked at the green for hope, but it also meant he couldn’t let go of the past. He couldn’t let go of Daisy and the love he had for her. He had hope that she would get her to love him again.
  • Gatsby resembles a butterfly. Butterflies start out as ugly caterpillars at first and evolve into a beautiful butterfly. Gatsby does the same thing. He starts out as poor and does what he can to get wealthy. “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people-his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all,” (Fitzgerald 98). He starts out poor (ugly) and decides to improve himself and become wealthy (beautiful). In order to become a beautiful butterfly, the ugly caterpillar must work hard to cocoon in which it can change into a beautiful butterfly. Gatsby worked hard to become wealthy; it wasn’t just handed to him. “’A young major just out of the army and covered over with medals he got in the war. He was so hard up he had to keep on wearing his uniform because he couldn’t buy some regular clothes. First time I saw him was when he come into Winebrenner’s poolroom at Forty-third Street and asked for a job,’” (Fitzgerald 171). He immediately started looking for work after coming out of the army alive. Even if he had to do illegal things to help get to the top, he did it and ended up at the top. Once he made it to the top, he through huge parties. “As soon as I arrived I made an attempt to find my host, but the two or three people of whom I asked his whereabouts stared at me in such an amazed way, and denied so vehemently any knowledge of his movements, that I slunk off in the direction of the cocktail table…” (Fitzgerald 42). At his parties, he was hardly known. No one really saw him. He just faded into the background. This is similar to a butterfly which flies from place to place in a garden and is hardly seen for long.
  • Gatsby is determined and kind-hearted. He did what he can in order to achieve his goal of being wealthy. Once he was wealthy, he had to use his wealth to lure Daisy in. He bought a large house close to Daisy and threw large extravagant parties. “There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue, gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and stars,” (Fitzgerald 39). He threw parties every day in hope that word would spread about his party and Daisy would show up and they would be reunited. Day after day of being disappointed by her no show, he did not give up and conceived another plan. He befriended Nick who is a cousin of Daisy and is close to her. He figured once they were friends, he could ask a request of him. “‘He wanted to know,” continued Jordan, “if you’ll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over,’” (Fitzgerald 78). Gatsby asked Nick to invite Daisy over to his house for tea and not tell her that Gatsby would be there. He wanted their reunion to seem spontaneous. Once Gatsby and Daisy reunited, it was obvious that Gatsby was one of the few people who actually cared for Daisy. “I’m going to wait here and see if he bothers her about that unpleasantness of this afternoon,” (Fitzgerald 144). After the horrific afternoon in the city, Gatsby watched over Daisy that night from afar to make sure Tom did not treat her badly. Although Gatsby wanted Tom and Daisy to split up so he could be with her, he cared enough to stick around and make sure that all was okay. He wanted Daisy to be happy.

The Dream

Gatsby’s dream was to have wealth in order to get Daisy. He was hopelessly in love with Daisy and changed everything he could about himself in order to fit the image of a man he thought Daisy wanted. “Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what he’s got about improving his mind? He was always great for that,” (Fitzgerald 173). His father found a schedule in the back of a book of things he needed to get done in allotted time slots as well as a list of things to improve him. He was determined to get Daisy and so he made sure that every minute of the day was being used wisely to achieve his dream in the long run. Gatsby did not just physically do what he could possible to achieve his goal, he changed his mind set. “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people-his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God-a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that-he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end,”(Fitzgerald 98). He changed his name and persona and created a positive mind set. He viewed himself as a man of high-importance and wanted others to view him that way too. Once he acquired his wealth, Gatsby had to flaunt it. “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay,” (Fitzgerald 83). Gatsby did not just buy a large extravagant home for himself just because he could; he wanted to impress Daisy with how wealthy he is. Gatsby threw huge parties at his home hoping that word would spread to her and she would come.

Gatsby sacrificed a lot to achieve his goal. He wanted Daisy more than anything and it showed. He caused himself great stress by looking at the green light at night. “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water…nothing except a single green light,” (Fitzgerald 20). Although it provided him hope for reuniting with Daisy one day, it caused him stress because it was also a constant reminder that he didn’t have Daisy yet so he had to keep trying harder. Once he reunited with Daisy, he just wanted her to be happy. “’Yes,’” he said after a moment, “‘but of course I’ll say I was,’” (Fitzgerald 144). Even though Daisy was the one who ran over Myrtle and killed her, he took the blame for it. This ended up costing him his life because Wilson wanted revenge on the person who killed Myrtle by killing that person. If Gatsby would not have taken the blame, he would not have lost his life. In the end, Gatsby was not close with many people in his life and that was evident at his funeral. “The minister glanced several times at his watch, so I took him aside and asked him to wait for half an hour. But it wasn’t any use. Nobody came,” (Fitzgerald 174). Gatsby focused so much on getting Daisy that he sacrificed making friends and being close with his family. His only “friends” were the ones who helped him get rich or get Daisy. He was ashamed of his family. Gatsby died a loner.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print.

arvilla15. "SparkNotes: The Great Gatsby." SparkNotes: Today's Most Popular Study Guides. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2012. <http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/gatsby/>.

Taylor Sadler