Fitzgerald Creates an Aura of Mystery Around Jay Gatsby
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The novel, ???The Great Gatsby??? by F. Scott Fitzgerald, creates an aura of mystery around the character of Jay Gatsby from the very beginning. Many things suggest that Gatsby is both great and mysterious, including the title of the book, his delayed speaking role in the book and the way people speak about him. Although he appears to be and is referred to as mysterious and great, Gatsby appears to be normal and he may be described in this way because of the way people speak of him.
One reason that Gatsby is portrayed to both Nick and the reader as mysterious are the rumors about him. Before Nick actually meets him face to face, Nick is unsure about Gatsby. The only thing he knows about his neighbor is that he is extremely wealthy and he throws extravagant parties every fortnight. The first rumor Nick hears is at the first of Gatsby??™s parties that he attends. He is with Jordan and two other girls, who begin gossiping about Gatsby. One of the girls say they heard that Gatsby killed a man, while the other one disagrees with her and says that he was a German spy during the war (pg. 48). In chapter 4, a group of young ladies talked about Gatsby, calling him a ???bootlegger??? and also said that he killed a man who found out he was the nephew to von Hindenburg (pg. 65). This demonstrates the fact that many people know very little about him, and that many negative rumors about Gatsby are floating among the party guests.
Even though the book is named after Gatsby, Fitzgerald doesn??™t physically introduce him to Nick until Chapter 3. The title, ???The Great Gatsby???, has the reader wondering about what makes Gatsby so great from the very beginning. Leaving the reader with only an image and different rumors about him, Gatsby becomes a very mysterious and concealed character in the beginning. Once Nick goes to Gatsby??™s party, he realizes that the guests know little about him and it was hard just to find Gatsby. Nick finally meets Gatsby at the party but when they are talking, Nick doesn??™t even realize who he is talking to (pg. 52). After this, we begin to realize that there isn??™t a whole lot that makes Gatsby great but as he is introduced, very little is revealed about his past other than the fact that he went to Oxford and fought in the army.
Gatsby??™s past is shrouded in mystery and very little insight about his background is given to Nick. When Nick mentions Gatsby to Daisy, she says ???Gatsby What Gatsby??? in a demanding way (pg. 15). This hints to the fact that Daisy and Gatsby may have had a past together because everybody knows Gatsby but she still says ???What Gatsby??? in a way suggesting that she may know who he is. It is not revealed until later in the book that Daisy and Gatsby were once lovers and she was the reason Gatsby lives in his house and throws parties. Another part of Gatsby??™s life that hasn??™t been revealed is his business. Nick has lunch with Gatsby and Mr. Wolfshiem and the conversation that occurs gives the reader some insight to Gatsby??™s occupation. While they are having lunch Mr. Wolfshiem tells Nick that ???I understand you??™re looking for a business negotiation??? but Gatsby quickly tells him that Nick ???isn??™t the man???. Mr. Wolfshiem also appears to be a shady character after Gatsby tells Nick that he was the one that fixed the World Series in 1919 but that he was too smart to get caught. This also hints that Gatsby??™s money may have been acquired through illegal activity.
Fitzgerald uses a variety of ways to create Gatsby as a mysterious character, such as introducing him late in the novel, rumors and little description of his past. Throughout the book, we expect Gatsby to be great but it is shown that there isn??™t that much that is great about him.