Why Is Gatsby Great

1387 Words6 Pages
Any average person would desire to be a “Gatsby” who is extremely wealthy, widely idolized, and seemingly impeccable. Indeed, what makes Gatsby great is his lavish lifestyle and self-earned wealth. However, the more one observes Gatsby, the more one realizes that his epithet is incongruous with his actual character. Not only is the major factor that makes him remarkable, wealth, a result of illegal bootlegging, but he seems to contradict his ‘greatness’ in various instances in the novel. This leaves the readers to speculate that the title of the book is ironic as Gatsby is not great because he is too naïve, pursues after a married Daisy and does not achieve the American Dream. To begin with, Gatsby is not great because he is too naïve. The…show more content…
Furthermore, Gatsby’s epithet is inapt as he fails to attain the American Dream. During his lifetime, he seems like a prominent member of his community because he hosts so many parties. Ironically, at Gatsby’s funeral barely ten people make appearance. Nick even mentions, “But [looking around for visitors] wasn’t any use. Nobody came” (Fitzgerald 174). The readers would expect that a “great” figure like Gatsby would be surrounded by his friends, colleagues, family, and lover at his final proceeding, but the reality is exactly the opposite. He is forgotten and not admired, and his lifetime finesse which he anxiously displayed through his parties does not seem to be remarkable anymore. Ideally, if Gatsby has truly achieved the American Dream, he should be a personification of someone who is eulogized, revered, and loved even until his last moment. However, this is not the case for Gatsby and this leads the readers to realize how he was not “great” enough to fulfill his American Dream. Interestingly though, Gatsby does not cease his chase after American Dream. The novel ends on an irresolute note with Nick saying: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther….And one fine morning——” (Fitzgerald 180). The “green light”, which serves as a symbol for everything Gatsby strived for in his lifetime, lingers even after his death, convincing more people, including Gatsby, that the American Dream is still possible. Even after his demise, he holds a strong faith in the American Dream and the fraudulences that sustains the Dream, which suggests that he is not great because he is still imperceptive of the quixotic nature of the American Dream. Hence, Gatsby’s failure to achieve the American Dream and his incessant chase after it confutes Gatsby’s greatness
Open Document