7 December 2012
The Reinvention of Jay Gatsby
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, centers on the story of Jay Gatsby, a young millionaire who reinvents himself during the 1920’s. Over the course of his life, Gatsby slowly changes himself to become the person he finally wants to be. He changes himself once through his mentor Dan Cody, and again when he involves himself in the illegal activity of bootlegging, or bringing and selling alcoholic substances in America. The law of prohibition allows Gatsby to complete his new persona. Without this law Gatsby would not have been able to reconceive himself as a man of wealth and distinction. Before Gatsby reinvents himself he is James Gatz. Gatz leaves North Dakota and, at the age of 17, becomes Jay Gatsby “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). While working on Lake Superior, he borrows a boat to warn Dan Cody, a wealthy yachtsman, that the wind might take him off course. At that moment Cody becomes Gatsby’s mentor. Gatsby spends five years on Dan Cody’s yacht. During this time he learns to be a man of class and sophistication. After Cody’s death Gatsby “was left with his singularly appropriate education; the vague contour of Jay Gatsby had filled out to the substantiality of a man” (Fitzgerald 101). Gatsby is now the shape of the man he always wanted to be; unfortunately he does not have the means to achieve the luxurious life style he desires. It is this new Gatsby who meets and captivates Daisy, though Gatsby always loves Daisy more than she loves him. When Gatsby leaves for the war Daisy quickly moves on. However, when Gatsby returns, he comes back to a new world: one where he sees his last opportunity to bring together everything to win Daisy’s love. The Prohibition Act is central to this final opportunity; without it this law it is not likely that Gatsby would have...
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