Jay Gatsby – Character Analysis

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Jay Gatsby – Character Analysis

The novel’s title character Jay Gatsby is a complex and confusing man. At the start of the novel Mr Gatsby is built up in Nick Caraway’s with rumours and little snippets of information but we never get any actual proof of his character and nick only catches glimpses of him. The effect of the rumours that are produced by so many people is that when Gatsby gives information about himself, Nick is forced to compare it with the rumours that he’s been supplied with and this puts doubt in his mind about Gatsby’s stories.

When Gatsby tells him of his time in the war, the medals he’s earned and his upbringing, Nick seems to believe it’s all too rehearsed to be true and this adds to the mystery of Gatsby’s character. The fact that he pulls out specific examples of his back story make it seem less spontaneous and more planned. For example the fact that he just happens to have a Montenegrin medal and a photo from oxford in his pocket just so he can prove himself comes across as slightly suspicious. Gatsby’s manner of speaking about himself is so perfect and rehearsed that the reader and Nick automatically suspect whether it is true. “I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West- all dead now” shows the emotionless attitude Gatsby possesses towards his background, as if is something that damaged him mentally that he tries to forget by throwing extravagant parties and he would prefer to avoid speaking about it. “He hurried the phrase ‘educated at Oxford’, or swallowed it, or choked on it, as if it had bothered him before” and it is at this point that nick starts to doubt Gatsby “‘I wondered if there wasn’t something a little sinister about him, after all’. Gatsby’s flaw is evident in this chapter, and that is that he is an unconvincing liar.

Gatsby’s dialect is American mixed with certain stereotypical traits of Oxford such as “old Sport” and “no matter”. These little gems of language suggest that Gatsby is trying a bit too...
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