The word “great” has many meanings – outstanding, eminent, grand, important, extraordinary, and noble – that vary with the intent of the speaker and the interpretation of the listener. Someone may perceive something as great, while someone else may consider that same thing horrendous. The greatness of a being is not determined by the individual, but by those around them who experience and perceive their greatness through actions and words. In the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the narrator, Nick Carraway, believes Gatsby to be a great person with a “gorgeous” personality. It is Nick’s perceptions of Gatsby that encourage the reader to also find him “great.” Gatsby, through his actions, his dreams, and his heart, distinguishes himself from the “foul dust” and makes himself “worth the whole damn bunch put together.” Gatsby creates an illusion for others, as he manages to appear to belong to a higher class than he really does. He fools “the spectators” around him by throwing extravagant parties that give off a sense of great wealth and stature. While the person of Jay Gatsby himself is a masterful illusion, James Gatz, although a flawed character, is essentially great.
Gatsby is a man shrouded in a cloud of mystery. He has a large amount of money, and some people speculate as to how he has obtained it. There are also quite a few rumors circulating about him; someone even says that Gatsby looks like he killed a person. Gatsby throws some of the most extravagant parties, and everyone who is someone must be seen at one of them. He never reveals anything about himself to people; however, he does reveal his true nature to Nick, who explains Gatsby to us.
According to Dan McCall, a professor at Cornell University, “The title of the novel has a special ironic distinction: it says two things at once. First, Gatsby is truly ‘great,’ a legitimate hero. Second, he is a figure in a sideshow, a freak, a carnival oddity. ” One thing that makes Gatsby great, as the title implies, is that he is a self-made man. He is great in the terms of the social stature and wealth that he has obtained. Dan Cody, who leaves Gatsby an inheritance that he somehow fails to obtain, is his first step towards the wealth that he desires. Without this inheritance, Gatsby must scratch and push his way to greatness by working illegally, achieving his dreams and – fundamentally – by being “innocent.” Gatsby’s parents “were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people,” meaning that Gatsby had no status or wealth. Over the years, Gatsby manages to gain status by making a lot of money and creating for himself and Daisy the image he wants to convey to others based on his dream; this is the first part of his dream that he manages to realize.
Daisy is the main reason for his greatness and desire and ability to achieve some of his dream. “He took what he could get, ravenously and unscrupulously—eventually he took Daisy one still October night, took her because he had no real right to...