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A Self-Made Man Gatsby

By Stasise May 05, 2013 843 Words
It’s not uncommon to hear the term “a self-made man”. In what possible ways might this term be explained? How does Gatsby fit the definition? In what ways does he take it too literally? The term "self-made man" describes a person who was born poor or otherwise disadvantaged, but who achieved great economic success, a man who has risen from poverty or obscurity thanks to their own talents or energies and hard work rather than to any inherited fortune, high social position, family connections or other privilege. Jay Gatsby is the striking example of such a person. James Gatz — that was his real name. His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. Apparently, even before he had the means, Jimmy had a plan – his desire to escape his circumstances and make a name for himself. From a young age, Jimmy knew that he was capable of great things, perhaps even destined for them. He had changed his name at the age of seventeen when he decided to change his life. It was some kind of symbol, action that crosses, cancels the past, intention to change his destiny. And that is what he actually did. As far as we can tell, he spent his whole youth training for his big break, and when it drifted into the harbor in the form of Dan Cody’s yacht, he was ready for it. The proof we can see in chapter 9. When to the Gatsby’s funerals comes his father, Henry Gatz. He says that Gatsby “had a big future before him. He was only a young man, but he had a lot of brain power here”. To prove his words Henry shows Nick a book, which he came across by accident, where the young Gatsby kept a self-improvement schedule; nearly every minute of his day was meticulously planned. Rise from bed................| 6.00 a.m.|

Dumbbell exercise and wall-scaling......| 6.15-6.30 ”|
Study electricity, etc............| 7.15-8.15 ”|
Work.....................| 8.30-4.30 p.m.|
Baseball and sports.............| 4.30-5.00 ”|
Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it| 5.00-6.00 ”| Study needed inventions...........| 7.00-9.00 ”|
| |
General Resolves:
No wasting time at Shafters.
No more smokeing or chewing.
Bath every other day.
Read one improving book or magazine per week.
Save $5.00 {crossed out} $3.00 per week.
Be better to parents.

It just shows us that even being young Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something. He was only 16 years, when he planned the schedule. (12 sep 1906, was born 1980) When Gatsby describes himself to Nick, he says that he is the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West — all dead now. That he was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because it is a family tradition. He describes his life as life of a young rajah, who lived in all the capitals of Europe, collecting jewels, hunting big game, painting a little, things for himself only, and trying to forget something very sad that had happened to him long ago. Actually the way he described himself to Nick was just a well-planned fable. Of course he would like all it was true. And he tries to match the person he impersonated: now he is fantastically wealthy young man, who drives a glamorous car, knows celebrities and every Saturday throws parties with hundred of guests, from all the area. So he invented 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. So, isn’t Jay Gatsby a vivid example of a self-made person? I think he is. He was a small town kid with big dreams, and now he is a millionaire, who became acquainted with the people and customs of high society. Though Gatsby has always wanted to be rich, his main motivation in acquiring his fortune was his love for Daisy Buchanan, whom he met as a young military officer in Louisville before leaving to fight in World War I. From this point of view, Gatsby's love for Daisy is what drives him to reinvent himself, rather than greed or true ambition. And I think here lays his main problem and curse. As Gatsby, in his heart of hearts, doesn’t care about wealth, or social status, or any of the other petty things that plague everyone else in his shallow world. Instead, Gatsby is motivated by the finest and most foolish of emotions – love. And when he loses his love for the second time, he loses himself. Who is he, Jimmy Gatz, a seventeen years old boy, or Jay Gatsby.. In the cultural history of the United States, the idea of the self-made man, an "essential American figure", looms large. It has been described as an archetype, a cultural ideal, a myth or a cult.

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