James Gatsby Character Analasys In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. We meet Jay Gatsby who is rich beyond measure. Gatsby throws lavish parties that attract the whole social elite on a regular basis. Although he lacks the social ease and grace that come with old money and wealth, he claims to be a part of society’s elite. Supposedly educated at Oxford, Gatsby was raised in a family where his father died young, thus inheriting his business at an early age. This, however, is revealed to be false, as he was born as “James Gatz” on a farm in North Dakota and by chance, he ended up living a luxurious life as an advisor for a rich man. After this man dies he becomes obsessed with wealth and creates a character that he wants to become, Jay Gatsby. After he accumulates this wealth through questionable means, he portrays a character who is almost ridiculously formal, in an attempt to be a part of the social elite. It is then easy to see his love for Daisy; she has everything he lacks and what he cannot possibly achieve. She is a young and beautiful woman, comes from an affluent family and met Gatsby in the military. When he leaves to go off to war she waits for a long time before she decides to marry another man, Tom Buchanan. Gatsby idolizes an aura of wealth and luxury, and after years of dreaming of his ideal life with Daisy, he’s manufactured an unobtainable illusion of what Daisy would be like.
Gatsby’s obsession with his character is related to Fitzgerald’s theme of the American dream, the concept that one can reinvent themselves and their history. The Mayflower landed on American shores in the 17th century and reinvented their version of Europe, as Gatsby reinvented himself on the shore of Lake Superior. He comes from a poor farming family and quit university because he found the janitorial job he had to take to pay for his tuition to humiliating, he ends up working on Lake Superior fishing for salmon. By chance he meets Dan Cody, a rich gentleman whom he saves from a storm, Dan Cody expresses his gratitude by taking Gatsby in as his personal assistant. During the time Gatsby lives with him, he develops an obsession with wealth and luxury, and reinvents himself as a rich gentleman, and does everything in his power to pursue this new picture of himself. “The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s business”. This quote exposes how Gatsby invented his own character because of how humiliated he feels by having a job as a janitor to pay for his tuition. In addition, he is described as the son of god, and when he is “about His Father’s business” it can mean nothing else but that he is doing gods work. This supports the fact that he has conceived a new persona for himself, and that he believes this persona is able to accomplish anything.
Gatsby invests so much into his dream of Daisy, that he raises her to an idealistic perfection that is impossible in reality. 'There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams—not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion.' Here Nick comments about the perfect picture Gatsby has painted of Daisy in his head after being separated from her for many years. As Nick points out with these words, the “colossal vitality” of Gatsby’s dream about Daisy has made their reunion impossible before it had a chance to happen. It is impossible for Daisy let alone any woman to live up to the picture Gatsby’s painted of her. By thinking this, Nick foreshadows the failure of Gatsby’s reunion with Daisy. 'It excited him, too, that many men had already loved Daisy—it increased her value in his eyes.' This shatters the romantic view of Gatsby’s pursuit of Daisy and demonstrates how his desire for her cannot be separated from the concept of value. Gatsby invests so much into his dream of Daisy, raises her to an idealistic perfection that is impossible in reality. His dream of her then disintegrates and crumbles, much like Fitzgerald views the American dream crumble in the 1920s.
Gatsby has reinvented himself and plays his character masterfully, but he still has flaws leading to a lot of rumors and mystique around him. 'If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away.Here Nick indicates that people find Gatsby “gorgeous” he is surrounded by an air of success. Although this feeling of success is just a result of “gestures”, he masterfully displays an image of success, although there might not be any depth or substance to this image. 'I was looking at an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd.' The phrase “elegant young roughneck” is self-contradicting, and indicates that there is something almost uncanny about Gatsby’s appearance, both stylish and rugged at the same time. Nick links this unusual appearance to Gatsby’s “elaborate formality of speech”. He believes that something is wrong about Gatsby and that he doesn’t really belong affluent society. 'He hurried the phrase “educated at Oxford,” or swallowed it, or choked on it, as though it had bothered him now. And with this doubt, his whole statement fell to pieces, and I wondered if there wasn’t something a little sinister about him, after all.' In Chapter 5, Nick once again notices that something seems wrong about the way Gatsby is speaking. At this point it relates to when he talks about how he was educated at Oxford. Gatsby’s uneasiness while on this topic makes Nick believe that he is lying. Indeed, as Nick finds out later in the book, Gatsby was in fact not educated at Oxford. He attended the school for a couple of months before he dropped out. Nick does not know this yet, but realizes that something is wrong, something that makes him distrustful of Gatsby.
James Gatz was born into a poor family, reinvented himself as a rich gentleman after he obtained an obsession with wealth, and Daisy merely another part of he wants “The Great Gatsby” to obtain. His dream is accomplished to some degree although it has some holes in it, the final piece of the puzzle, Daisy, is missing. In the end, his dream crumbles and falls to pieces much like Fitzgerald’s view of the American dream in the 1920s. Where he believes America's optimism and the pursuit of liberty, freedom, and individualism is becoming inferior to the pursuit of personal wealth.