The “Great” Gatsby




“Who is he?” I demanded. “Do you know?”

“He’s just a man named Gatsby.”

“Where is he from, I mean? And what does he do?”

“Now you’re started on the subject,” she answered with a

wan smile. “Well, he told me once he was an Oxford man.”

A dim background started to take shape behind him,

but at her next remark it faded away.

“However, I don’t believe it.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t know,” she insisted, “I just don’t think he went


Something in her tone reminded me of the other girl’s “I

think he killed a man,” and he had the effect of stimulating my

curiosity. I would have accepted without question the infor-

mation that Gatsby sprang from the swamps of Louisiana or

from the lower East Side of New York. That was compre-

hensible. But young men didn’t-at least in my provincial

inexperience I believed they didn’t-drift coolly out of

nowhere and buy a palace on Long Island Sound.

“Anyhow, he gives large parties,” said Jordan, changing the

subject with an urban distaste for the concrete. “And I like

large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t

any privacy.


In this scene, Nick has just finished talking to Gatsby and meeting him for the first time at his party. Their conversation was cut short when Gatsby had to take a phone call from Chicago. This excerpt comes in when Gatsby leaves. Nick is asking Daisy about Gatsby and who he is. I picked this excerpt because I thought that this scene is an important scene in the story. The scene is an important scene in the story because it shows the characterization of Gatsby in many ways.

            One way this scene shows the characterization of Gatsby is that this scene takes place at one of Gatsby’s many extravagant parties. At these parties, anyone is invited. Anyone can just walk in. In fact, Klipspringer attended one of Gatsby’s parties and never left and that is why he is known as “The Boarder”. This represents that Gatsby is generous because he let Klipspringer stay at his house, and it also illustrates that Gatsby will giving anything to anyone.

            Gatsby is very smart. He went to Oxford. However, in this scene, Daisy mentions that she doesn’t believe Gatsby went to Oxford. This scene starts to demonstrate Gatsby’s “secret past”. There are also many rumors going around about Gatsby, for example, that he killed a man, which is also mentioned in this excerpt. Although these rumors and opinions of Gatsby may not be true, it still displays that Gatsby does have a secret past. And in this secret past is Daisy. Gatsby is still in love with Daisy. That is the reason for these extravagant parties. Gatsby hopes that Daisy will just walk in one day. This is also the reason that Nick lives right next door to Gatsby and got invited to Gatsby’s party. Gatsby knew that Nick knew Daisy, so he made sure Nick lived right next door to him and he hoped that Nick would walk into his party so he could talk to him. But, when Nick never showed up, he sent him an invitation. The fact that Gatsby went through all of this just to meet with Nick demonstrates that Gatsby is very smart and it illustrates again that he will do anything for someone. Gatsby is also very smart because he bought a house across the lake so he can see Daisy’s green light from his house.  

            Another rumor that is going around is that Gatsby is a bootlegger. This is true. Gatsby is friends with Meyer Wolfsheim, who is a criminal. Gatsby got into the criminal business because he needed to make money. Daisy is from a world of money and he believed the only way he could get her love is to become wealthy like Daisy.


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