The Great Gatsby Character Analysis

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 4 (879 words) Published: February 27, 2018


In the book, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the main character, Nick Carraway, changes significantly. He goes from being tired and worn out in the Midwest to being social and outgoing in the east. He goes from being intrigued about Jay Gatsby to seeing his true colors and feeling mixed emotions. Finally, he goes from being optimistic and hopeful about life in the east to being ashamed of the way he lives there.
In the beginning of the story, Nick moves to West Egg, Long Island to start a new life. He comes from Minnesota, where he is growing exhausted with his current lover and his way of life. He moves east and rents a house in the West Egg district of Long Island, an area populated by wealthy, young people. On his way to West...

His neighbor, Jay Gatsby, is an extremely wealthy young man, but nobody knows much about him or how he obtained his wealth. When Nick first moves to West Egg, he often hears his neighbor’s name and is intrigued, so he tries to find out a bit more about him. He eventually is invited to one of Gatsby’s parties, where he gets the chance to speak to Gatsby with Jordan. He learns that Gatsby has been deeply in love with Daisy since 1917. His extravagant parties and lavish lifestyle are only an attempt to impress Daisy. Tom eventually catches on that Gatsby is in love with his wife, and he becomes enraged. He reveals that Gatsby is a criminal, and he obtained his wealth from bootlegging alcohol and other illegal activities. When Tom starts to feel his marriage is threatened by Gatsby, he reveals, “I found out what your ‘drug stores’ were...He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drug stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him and I wasn’t far wrong” (141). Nick becomes slightly disappointed at the truth of the past behind his dishonest and vulgar neighbor, however he somewhat admires the way Gatsby handles the situation. Now finally knowing the full truth about his neighbor, Nick begins to reflect on his own...

When Nick arrives in West Egg, he has high hopes for the future and an optimistic view of the people and things around him. As Nick spends time with people in the east, he sees how money plays an overly-important role in everyone’s life there; everyone is obsessed with garish displays of wealth. After he learns the truth about Gatsby, he reflects that Gatsby’s dream of being with Daisy was corrupted by dishonesty and money. Nick believes that Gatsby’s ability to turn his dreams into reality is what makes him so great. After Gatsby’s death, Nick arranges a small funeral for Gatsby and reflects even further about the way of life in the east. He becomes disgusted by the people surrounding him and the emptiness and moral decay of life among the upper class. He says, “It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…” (188). He comes to the conclusion that the American dream of happiness and individualism has merely turned into the pursuit of money and power. He realizes that both Gatsby’s dreams and the American dream have come to an end.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, the...
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