Jay Gatsby Jay Gatsby, the main character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is a materialistic man, trying to live out the American Dream in the 1920’s. But, his way of life does not get him the woman of his dreams, and eventually leads to his death. He is an extremely wealthy man, but despite all of his money, is very lonely. Although he never gets the woman he wants, Gatsby was a dreamer. He was motivated to reinvent himself and buy his way through life, with a dream to recreate the past.
Jay Gatsby was materialistic from the beginning. From his childhood, to his adult life, he dreamed of being rich. His parents were not wealthy and he grew up in the middle class, but he had always wanted lots of money. Nick Carraway states, “He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, it means just that—and he must be about His father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty” (Fitzgerald 104). No matter how he did it, Gatsby was going to be rich.
From age seventeen he was determined and he would stick with his goal. According to critic Chikako D. Kumamoto, Gatsby’s “vast, vulgar, and meretricious” dream was shared by a social climbing. Nick finally figures out Gatsby’s plans with Daisy Buchannan and says, “He had waited five years and bought a mansion where he dispensed starlight to casual moths—so that he could come over some afternoon to a stranger’s garden” (Fitzgerald 80). Everything Gatsby did was to win back Daisy’s love.
Being a materialist caused him to throw outrageous parties in hopes that one day, Daisy would show up to one. He believed that his money was the only way to win her over. Jay Gatsby was clearly a lonely man. He had all the money in the world to buy anything except for the woman of his dreams, Daisy. Throughout the whole novel, The Great Gatsby, he appears to be bored and alone. “Your place looks like the World’s fair” Nick Carraway says to Gatsby (Fitzgerald 86). Even to his death, no one cared enough about him to come to his funeral.
Carraway tells us, “but neither a wire nor Mr. Wolfshiem arrived; no one arrived except more police and photographers and newspaper men” (Fitzgerald 110). Striving for only two things in his life never made him very popular. He threw extravagant parties, but no one knew who he was or even liked him for that matter. According to critic Brian Sutton, Gatsby goes to spectacular lengths to try to achieve what Nick Carraway calls “his incorruptible dream” (Fitzgerald 155). But, unfortunately Gatsby never gets the woman he longs for.
Nick tells us, “After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy he was consumed with wonder at her presence” (Fitzgerald 99). While Gatsby may have loved the real Daisy, the love that survived over time was of his dream-like conception of her. Jay Gatsby lived a life he dreamed of having but, he dreamed of getting Daisy back and never actually did. Nick tells Gatsby, “You can’t repeat the past” and Gatsby, being the stubborn man he is, says “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can! ” (Fitzgerald 117). His dreams got in the way.
Critic Brian Sutton states that Gatsby’s chances of winning Daisy were dead. Finding out the way Gatsby got his money ruined everything he could have had with Daisy. Throughout his whole life, Jay Gatsby would do anything to achieve “his incorruptible dream” (Fitzgerald 155). Daisy’s marriage seems so awful during most of the novel; it is almost like Gatsby is going to make his dreams come true. His efforts are so unimaginable and Daisy appears to be looking for a way out. Because Jay Gatsby is materialistic, lonely, and a dreamer, he is killed.
His own attitude caused his death. Living out the American Dream, trying to become wealthy, and striving to win Daisy’s love did not pay off for Gatsby in the end. Works Cited Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print. Kumamoto, Chikako. “Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. ” Explicator 60 (Fall 2001): 37-41. Literature Resource Center. Web. 09 Nov. 2012. Sutton, Brian. “Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. ” Explicator 59 (Fall 2000): 37-9. Literature Resource Center. Web. 09 Nov. 2012.