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The Structure Of Jay Gatsby's Personality

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Jay Gatsby is a young man who rose from an underclass status to becoming fabulously wealthy. It appears as if there is nothing more Gatsby could want out of life and he is living out the true American Dream. However, when looking deeper into his life the reader learns that there is more to Gatsby than what meets the eye. Throughout the novel, Jay Gatsby makes himself an outcast through his personality and taste even though he hopes to be accepted by the upper-class society whose actions reflect a society of greed and immorality.

In the beginning, Gatsby throws his first of many parties, showing off his great wealth and revealing confidence in his lifestyle, when really, he is not what he seems. Jay Gatsby hosts weekly parties mostly for the rich and fashionable. Many of the guests attend these extravagant gatherings when they please, but some come with a personal invitation from Gatsby himself. One of these few select individuals is Gatsby’s soon-to-be close friend, Nick Carraway. Nobody knows who Gatsby truly is beside the fact that he is a very rich man who lives in the West Egg. This brings up frequent gossip, curiosity, or rumors about his true identity. Gatsby appears to be this gracious host, yet he remains apart from his guests. It’s almost as if he is an observer rather than a participant as if he is seeking something. Nick notices while everybody is partying, “Gatsby, standing alone on the marble steps and looking from one group to another with approving eyes.”

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Looking at the surface, Gatsby presents himself as a wealthy and successful individual who portrays all aspects of the success of the American dream. Gatsby poses as one of the most famous celebrity figures in New York and throws these extravagant parties to show off this status and generosity. It appears that Gatsby has almost nothing to lose and he is living on top of the world. It wasn’t until Nick takes a glance at Gatsby and sees a different side of him than what he has commonly shown. With the help of Nick, parts of Gatsby’s true personality comes into play. As Nick becomes more curious as to why Gatsby is so isolated, he “wondered if the fact that he was not drinking helped to set him off from his guests, for it seemed to me that he grew more correct as the fraternal hilarity increased.” (Fitzgerald, Ch. 3). When looking beyond the surface, Nick finds several instances, including this one, that shows how Gatsby sets himself off from everyone at his party by almost separating himself from his own festivities. It brings more mystery to who Gatsby truly is and what he is looking for out of life. Though Jay Gatsby lives this lavish and successful life, there is something within Gatsby that shows he is not fully satisfied with his life and is longing for something. When looking from the surface the reader is able to further see beyond the confidence and lavishness that is Jay Gatsby. However, as the reader takes a closer look in-depth at Gatsby’s life, they can see that Gatsby is in need of something in his life or is not fully satisfied, as seen in his scene at his party. Gatsby, like the rest of society in his time, always wanted to live their best version of the American Dream. These people often reflect greed or immortality regardless of how much they have. They want the best life they can possibly get and they will do whatever it takes to achieve it.

Later on in the novel, as Gatsby begins to strengthen his relationship with Daisy, he brings her and Nick to his home to show off some of his incredible wealth, but not for the prideful reasons one would expect. Aside from his parties, Gatsby’s choice of color in his objects of wealth is very distinct and different from other tastes in style. While Tom, Jordan, and Nick rode together to meet Daisy and Gatsby in town, Tom began to question the integrity of Gatsby. In observance of Daisy and Gatsby’s feelings for each other, Tom is suspicious of who Gatsby really says he is. Gatsby claims he is an “Oxford man” however Tom notes something peculiar about his dress that may prove otherwise. As Jordan reminds Tom Gatsby is an Oxford Man, Tom replies, “An Oxford man!” He was incredulous. “Like hell he is! He wears a pink suit.” (Fitzgerald, Ch. 7). Tom does not believe that Gatsby ever attended an old and prestigious university such as Oxford because his Pink Suit reflects that Gatsby does not belong to the upper class. Gatsby’s suit makes a statement to Tom that he flaunts his wealth which is ‘new’ money. He does not dress in the tasteful, flamboyant, or rich style adopted by those who had the money to attend a university such as Oxford. Looking at the surface, Gatsby’s color pink is unique in style for a rich man but is a bizarre representation of his excessive wealth which sets him apart in a society of well cultured and defined men. This indeed makes Gatsby the outcast out of this group in society expressing his own use and ideas of his wealth, leading to his next representation of this. In addition to his Pink Suit, Gatsby has another peculiar possession of his that questions his luxurious lifestyle. Just like the suit, Gatsby’s Yellow Rolls-Royce strongly links to him as a character. The yellow car first appears when Gatsby comes to pick up Nick from his house for their afternoon drive and last appears in the hit and run of Myrtle. Nick describes it as, “a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length with triumphant hat-boxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes, and terraced with a labyrinth of windshields that mirrored a dozen suns.” (Fitzgerald, Ch. 4). Gatsby’s yellow car adds to his reflection of extreme wealth, calling attention to itself in a way that further reflects the “new money” representing Gatsby’s personality and his fashion style. It is clear that Gatsby’s highlighted details of his car are over the top and meant to impress others. It adds to the outsider that is Gatsby due to its overwhelming glamour. Looking beyond the surface, Gatsby uses his yellow car to assert his status and wealth in on others and to feel accepted by society. Gatsby, like many other wealthy individuals, uses their most prized possessions to further show off their richness. They are all constantly in need to be accepted by society and compete to live out the best version of the American Dream. Sometimes this includes being the outcast amongst others.

In short, Gatsby makes himself an outcast through his personality and taste in hopes to be accepted by the upper-class society whose actions reflect a society of greed and immorality. Everything that Gatsby owns from his mansion shown in his parties, his pink suit, and to his Yellow Rolls Royce presents himself as an outcast secretly trying to be accepted by the upper-class society.

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The Structure Of Jay Gatsby’s Personality. (2021, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 27, 2023, from
“The Structure Of Jay Gatsby’s Personality.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2021,
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