In The Great Gatsby, Nick is partially true that Gatsby comes from his Platonic conception of himself, as like the philosopher Plato, Gatsby believes he can only become his true self by cutting off ties with his parents. He does this by lying about his past, the source of his wealth and even his name. The reason for him doing so is to hide the shame of his past, and to be reunited with the symbol of wealth and success, Daisy. However, Nick’s views are biased and subjective, thus his observation of Gatsby is limited. Gatsby also possesses certain fundamental traits that he couldn’t invent therefore he is not merely his own creation. Nick’s observations of Gatsby can be deemed somewhat true, as Fitzgerald’s novel offers sufficient evidence both supporting and denying his claims.
Jay Gatsby created an idealised and perfected version of his life at the age of seventeen, and goes to a great effort to legitimise his stories. He does this by lying about his past, the source of his wealth and his identity. He created many different stories to satisfy the expectations of those around him, but they would often contradict one other. Nick caught him in the middle of saying, “it took me just three years to earn the money that bought [his house]” and when Nick questions his previous statement, that Gatsby had inherited his money, he automatically replied, “I did, old sport... but I lost most of it in the big panic- the panic of the war.” Nick deduces Gatsby is a fraud, but plays along with the lie, and pretends to questions nothing more of his past. Tom Buchanan also suspects dishonesty, and confronts Gatsby by saying, “I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong." The reader only starts to realise Gatsby’s false identity through the criticism of other characters throughout the novel. A name is a symbol of identity, therefore when Gatsby changes his name, it represents him cutting off ties with his parents and becoming a new person. Nick...
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