Gatsby: Who Is He?

Throughout the 20th Century, The Great Gatsby was a popular book because it brought to life the "Roaring '20s:" jazz, Prohibition, the 'motorcar,' and the fabulous wealth that was building in American cities at that time.

Today we are far closer to the centenary of Fitzgerald's writing of the book in 1923 than we are to the Jazz Age. This means that we read the book in a far different way.

In class I have tried to demonstrate that the characters in Gatsby have become archetypes. In class, we looked at comparisons that writers had made between the characters and Presidents Bush and Obama.

How do you connect with the characters in The Great Gatsby? Do you see any connections between them and those that Fitzgerald created? He certainly had others in mind when he wrote the book. For example, the athletic, free-wheeling Jordan of the book was based on a female golfer Fitzgerald knew, Edith Cummings.

Who is Gatsby? Is there someone you know--either privately or in public life--who:
  • began at the bottom but worked their way up to become a success (Gatsby)?
  • has a careless, destructive attitude because everything has come easy for them (Tom Buchanan)?
  • gave up on true love to live a lush, comfortable life (Daisy Buchanan)?
  • embodies one of the other characters in the book?
In your answer, use quotes or specific scenes from the book to support the connection you make. I will be reading your responses to (a) gauge whether you read the book or not, and (b) learn more about the book from you.


  1. It took me a while, but after a few chapters I finally felt connected to the characters in The Great Gatsby, especially Nick. Nick just kind of stood around and witnessed everything. Everyone told him their secrets, and he started to speak up at the end but couldn't tell Tom that Daisy was driving the car that hit George's wife, Myrtle. Tom Buchanan and a close friend of mine have similarities: they both are careless and have had everything handed to them. Gatsby and my mom share the fact that they worked their way to become successful.

  2. Someone that reminds me of Gatsby would be grandpa Johnny Cash. Although he didn't use his wealth to get the attention of one lady, as Gatsby did for Daisy, but to change country music as we know it forever. Gatsby was considered lower class when he first met Daisy, which Daisy mother didn't like. After being rejected because of his status, Gatsby decides to work to become successful to steal her attention once again. In Chapter 4 "Gatsby then lists a long and preposterously detailed set of accomplishments: he claims to have been educated at Oxford, to have collected jewels in the capitals of Europe, to have hunted big game, and to have been awarded medals in World War I by multiple European countries." Hoping that Daisy would over hear this conversation and leave her husband for him.
    Country singer, guitarist, songwriter. Born February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas. The son of poor Southern Baptist sharecroppers, Cash, one of seven children born to Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash, moved with his family at the age of three to Dyess, Arkansas, so that his father could take advantage of the New Deal farming programs instituted by President Roosevelt. There, the Cash clan lived in a five-room house and farmed 20 acres of cotton and other seasonal crops.
    Gatsby's decision to seek Daisy was influenced by his own background. As a child, he lived a poor lifestyle brought up by his parents who were farmers. Though he did not live a bad childhood, his background was no way to impress anyone from the East Egg. Gatsby lied to Daisy about his own background in order to prove to her that he was good enough. Daisy was perfect example of a person from the East Egg, having a wealthy lifestyle from her childhood, living a life of luxury, charm, and grace. Gatsby tried everything to get his status up to her potential. Gatsby's uncomparable parties, extravagant mansion, and the money that he acquired all were part of his plan to get closer to Daisy.

    Christina Acevedo 4th

  3. Jay Gatsby was a young man that always dreamed of being wealthy. Up until his thirtys he partied hard and would help anyone in need. One of his quotes to a bunch of friends was, "You want anything, you just ask for it, old sport." His ambitions were to always be rich and flaunt his money. Aaron Lilly reminds me a lot like Jay Gatsby. He is a very independent man and will help any person he runs into because that's his nature. He as well parties and isn't scared of taking risks just like Jay. Aaron's had to work for everything he ever owns, and it has gotten him far. He has his own house on the lake and pays for his own bikes and vehicles. It's a great comparison.

  4. Marissa Barton:
    Gatsby was a man that was courageous, passionate, and would do anything for love. Likewise, a man named Martin Luther King Jr. had the same dream. They both believed in a way of life not judged by greed or lust but by love and peace. As Gatsby said, "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had." Gatsby wasn’t wealthy nor did he have the education at the time when he met Daisy. He was so ashamed of his janitorial job that he dropped out of St. Olaf’s College. Nonetheless, he loved her and would rise to meet those expectations after the war was over. He proved this by his achievement of millions of dollars, his purchase of a mansion on West Egg, and his extravagant weekly parties all merely means to impress his love. Martin Luther King Jr. took forward his actions as well, because he believed in himself no matter what color his skin appeared to be. As Martin once said, “At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.” Gatsby’s dream of Daisy was corrupted by money and dishonesty and the American dream of happiness dissolved into the stability of comfort from Tom. The green light represented Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. It lead him to believe the closer he could achieve this illuming light, the closer his dreams could be complete. Only on the contrary, love did not conquer all. It was jealousy, hate, and lies that triumphed overall.

  5. I guess I can relate my uncle (my mother's half-brother) to Tom Buchanan. He grew up in a comfortable enviornment, money wise and was used to everything just being handed to him. He was an only child in his household, and expected, and still expects everything to revolve around him. So like Tom, he's rather arrogant. Later on in his life he has had some drug and alcohol problems, not expecting any consequences. So I guess that's the destructive side... However, I must say that he is beginning to learn from his mistakes.

  6. My friend Noel reminds me a lot of Gatsby.
    Noel is a clarinet player, like myself. She started playing 2 years later than everyone else.
    She started learning and teaching herself while everyone else was good amount ahead of her. She decided to work at it a great deal. Last year, after only a year of playing, she began to make honor bands. Not only did she make them, but she placed in the top group every time. That is a huge deal. She went from being a beginner who didn't sound very good, to competing with people who had two years of experience against her, and beating them...all in one year! I think this demonstrates how she worked her way from the bottom to the top, just like gatsby.

    -Michaela Cundari- :)

  7. Emily Hutcherson
    My grandfather and Gatsby are very much alike. They both worked their way up to achieve so much. My grandfather practically started with nothing and now is quite successful. He did not make his money on having a alcohol business, but did work his way up at Lowes. He was also well-known at many different Lowes. And traveled around but not to other countries. My grandfather, like Gatsby, did fall in love at a young age. Gatsby wanted people to see him as a kind man and he is very loyal to other people. My grandfather cares about others, and has never treated anyone poorly. Gatsby and my grandfather are very hard workers.

    THE GREAT GATSBY has many different characters that remind us of people we might know today; such as Gatsby. He was a man who was poor and who had to work his way up to the top to be a success in his life. He reminds me of the Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville, who became a huge success after inventing the first flying machine. They kept working at it for a long time, until finally, after so many trials of flight testing, they got their successful outcome. The Gatsby also became a success after joining with Dan Cody as an assistant. There are more people that you can compare to Gatsby, and even other characters in the book.

  9. Daisy Buchanan reminds me of a girl I used to be friends with, Ashlyn. She gave up on love to live a comfortable life, like Daisy. Daisy wants to go to Gatsby's parties to be with Gatsby and it seems like she wants to have a little more fun in her life. Ashlyn did the same things Daisy did. For example, she went to parties to have more fun in her life. Daisy didn't hide her love for Gatsby from Tom. Ashlyn didn't hide her love for the person she truly cared about while they weren't together. Ashlyn reminds me a lot of Daisy in these few ways.

  10. Honestly, i can state that atleast 80% of all politicians represent Tom Buchanan like a mirror. As everyone knows, most politicians come from wealthy, well respected families. Tom is describe as arrogant, sexism problems, and expects people to have manners that he doesn't posess. Most politicians have no idea of what some people do to survive; its called arrogance, so thats another reason why i relate Tom to politicians. In addition to my point, Tom was unable to identify the feelings of the people he had hurt through out the story; especially George Wilson. I think politicians have no idea how much one simple decision can change the future. To me, Tom's cheating represents when politicians make decisions for their own good. by GS 2nd

  11. Nick Swift
    4th Block

    Gatsby was a young man, who went from the poverty of North Dakota to the riches of West Egg, New York. He held lavish parties to impress the locals, mainly the girl of his dreams, Daisy. Daisy and Gatsby fell in love at a military base in Louisville, KY before the war began. Daisy said she'd wait for Gatsby, untill he came home. But, she didn't wait. She married Tom Buchanan, a rich man living in New York City. After Gatsby returned, he often spent his nights at the dock in his back yard, staring at the green light off in the distance, imagining at as being Daisy.
    "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us."
    I can connect to the characters in this book quite easily, because each character has a real life counterpart. As for if I know any real life examples of Gatsby, Oprah Winfrey fits this criteria quite well. She started off quite poor, but made it huge. Paris Hilton resembles Tom Buchanan in the way that she has always gotten things handed to her, and she has always been waited on hand and foot. Yet, she still lost control of her life by using illegal drugs.

  12. Kimmi Barnett

    When I read about Gatsby, the first thing that came to my mind was Oprah Winfrey. Gatsby was born on a farm in North Dakota and lived in a pretty poor atmosphere. Oprah, the woman who now has her own channel, was born in a small town in Mississippi. She was sent to live with her grandparents, after being abused at a very young age and lived in really poor surroundings. Working for a millionaire made Gatsby dedicate his life to the achievement of wealth. Oprah eventually moved in with her father and her father was well off and had very high standards and living with him made her really want to do something with her life. Just as Gatsby knew there was a better life out there then what he had, so did Oprah. She quotes ""I knew there was a way out. I knew there was another kind of life because I had read about it. I knew there were other places, and there was another way of being." And now Oprah is a billionaire.

  13. I believe that Gatsby resembles Van Wilder. Gatsby like Van loved to party. Van was in search of who he was and what he wanted to become, since he had been in college for 6 years. Gatsby was also searching for himself and was looking for a way to express his image. Both characters impressed people with lavish parties and they were both in search of a girl. Gatsby wanted to impress Daisy, but got very distracted with his self image. Van tried to impress one of the co-ed students in his college and threw parties to get her attention.

    By Chase Howell

  14. Someone that reminds me of Gatsby is John Jenkins. He was formerly a basketball player at our school. John spent so much time in the gym trying to get better and better at the sport he loves. A quote from the book reminds me of John, the quote said something like this: "You can't repeat something from the past?.. Well of course you can!" After reading that it made me think of how John was so successful in high school and now he is even more successful in college. It made me realize how things you might not have done well in the past, you can repeat them again in the future and excel at them.

  15. If I had to choose one person that reminded me of anybody in The Great Gatsby, I would choose my grandfather. Like Jay Gatsby, he worked his way from the bottom to the top. Having grown up in the rural town of Scottsville, Kentucky, he was not equipped with many opportunities in life to go far and make something of himself. Unlike Gatsby, my grandfather did not go to college, but he did accomplish what many see as the American dream. Against all odds, he was able to create a successful concrete business and make a life for himself that was very unlike his poor rural beginnings. He is still running the business and maintaining the American dream of being self-made. This is how I believe my grandfather is like Gatsby.
    -Nathan Gregory

  16. Dajion Whitfield:
    I think Tom Buchanon resembles George W. Bush in a way. Both were raised in wealth and were oblivious to the struggles of the rest of the world. Both did not think about the consequences of their actions and decisions before making them. Being selfish in theses decisions hurt many people around them and this is why I believe George W. Bush and Tom Buchanon are virtually the same person.

  17. Alyssa Fullerton

    When I read about Gatsby and how the character came from nothing and became something, the person who came to my mind when I made a connection was my mother.
    My mother, like Gatsby, came from a pretty poor way of life. While Gatsby lived on a farm, my mother lived in a small town in Michigan. My grandfather was a big money saver and hated to spend, so my mother never got the chance to go to college after high school. But, despite that, she has still been able to become successful. She knew that there was something better out there then just her little one-horse town, and was determined to get it.
    And while she never went off to become some famous world wide phenomenon or billionaire, she has still been able to find her own success. She has become a successful worker who is admired by her coworkers and loved by her bosses, and to me, making her mark in just her career still makes her a success just as great as Gatsby's.

  18. Like Gatsby, my cousin Nicki, has had a bad life growing up. Gatsby grew up in a poor area and he didn't have much. However he kept the "american dream" alive and got the lavish life that he wanted. He was very independent and he would help anyone. My cousin Nicki had an awful childhood; she was tossed around foster homes until she was 17. She thought that she had no one, but then the Herran family decided to adopt her. Things were starting to look good for her: she had a new family, she was really smart, and she was in a permanent home forever. She had missed out on so much things when she was younger so she was determined to accomplish her goal of being a doctor. Nowadays, she has a nice house in Belevue and she has a wonderful Husband named Matt. She met him in medical school. She never would've met him if it wasn't for the Herrans; they changed her life for the better. She is probably the most happy and generous people i know. She would help anyone in need; even if she didn't know you she would always try to help you. "If you want it just ask for it." That's something Nicki would say, so that is why i did my comparison on her to Jay. (Katy Burks 2nd block)

  19. Macy Troglen

    I am going to compare Nick, Gatsby's neighbor and the narrator of the book, to my own father. He is tolerant, slow to judge, and someone whom people feel comfortable sharing their secrets with. He is willing to open himself and his character up in the book even if his thoughts are inconsistent. Such as, his conflicted thoughts about Gatsby, or the long musing at the end of the book, making him seem trustworthy and thoughtful. Having the perfect relation to all the main characters in the book also put him in the perfect vantage point to tell the story. He is Daisy's cousin, Tom's old college friend, and as I mentioned earlier.. Gatsby's neighbor, and they all trust and rely on him in different parts of the story he tells. I relate every aspect of his character to my own father because I have simply relied on him my whole life, and have never been let down. If he says he is going to do something then he does it, with his favorite quote being "In life all that a man has is his family and his WORD".

  20. Blake Holder

    I believe I am like Great Gatsby but not in the way that is described above. I believe that I am like Gatsby in the way that he was when he lied about himself and his story to get attention. He would throw all these elaborate parties trying to impress Daisy just as I did this past summer to try to impress a girl. But just as in Gatsby and Daisy's case Daisy was a self centered girl or selfish girl. In the end something bad happened to me with my story just like in Gatsby's story when he was shot by Tom.

  21. Connor Bowers

    My dads an exact replica of Tom Buchanan. He's arrogant, sexist, carefree, everything he's gotten, he's barely worked for. He's the kind of person who can don no wrong, but is always being wronged by the people around him. My dad's cocky, selfish, and blames everything that goes wrong around him on everybody else. Specific example? Tom cheats on Daisy throughout the whole book, he even suspects daisy on cheating on him with Gatsby, and he just goes off on her! something my dad's done multiple times (Well not the same situation, but quite close). One thing that really reminds me of my dad, is one comment "All right. I'm glad it's a girl, and I hope she'll be a fool, That's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool". This incredibly sexist comment is exactly like something my dad would say.

  22. The Great Gatsby was a significant story. The situations in the book are situations that happen in the reality of life. Daisy is married to a man named Tom Buchanan; he played football and he is a rich man. Daisy and Tom live on the East Egg where the more wealthy people live. Gatsby lives on the West Egg; he wants to impress Daisy. In Chapter 1, it talks about Daisy's infant child. It says "she will be a beautiful little fool." Daisy says "women should be beautiful and simplistic." She has an affair with Gatsby, and him and Tom have confrontation. Gatsby dies in the end. Daisy was happier with Gatsby, even though he didn't have a lot of money like Tom.

    Shelley King

  23. Valorie Preston
    My father reminds me of Gasby because he dropped out of school at a young age. Instead of dropping out because he couldn't bear the job to pay for school, he dropped out because he needed to go to work with his dad to help pay the bills. My dad was very poor as a child but rose out of poverty and made a name for himself. Daisy and Jay Gatsby, born as James Gatz, fell in love in Louisville right before Gasby goes to war. When Gatsby returns he goes to college in order to get an education to support Daisy. Meanwhile, Daisy finds a more stable life in Tom Buchanan and marries him. When Gatsby comes back he buys a mansion across the harbor from Daisy and Tom which is also beside Daisy's cousin, Nick. Nick finds Gatsby interesting and tries to fix him up with Daisy again. It worked, but for only a day or two until Daisy's husband, Tom, found out. Tom and Gatsby have a confrontation and Gatsby goes back to longing for his one true love. He later dies and only a few people attend his funeral because everyone else has quietly dissapeared. Nick discovers Gatsby's "mysterious past" from Gatsby's father and then moves back to the west after visiting Gatsby's empty mansion one last time.

  24. The character Gatsby experiences a lot in the book, most significantly his rise from the dreads of society to the upper class in East Egg. In today's world, I can think of one person imparticular who was raised from an average sort of life into becoming a very popular and influential celebrity. This person was Justin Bieber. Like Gatsby, the beginning of his life was modest. He was raised by his single mother Pattie Molette in Ontario. Until his mother posted a video of him singing, he had no sort of fan base. But once the videos were uploaded, they began to gain popularity. People could see his talent presented without bias. Because of this, he rose quickly and is now a celebrity. His rise from the bottom to the top is similar to Gatsby's in that without work (Gatsby selling alcohol, Justin practicing his music), accomplishing their dreams would not have been possible.

    Kellyn Parks

  25. Okay Mr. Dittes, here we go again!

    In the book, The Great Gatsby, James Gatz (better known as Jay Gatsby) was not introduced in the book until a later time but I found a very similar comparison to Jay and my grandfather, Woody. They were both raised in lower/middle class societies. Woody became an orphan and was adopted at the age of five. He grew up in a home that was not very wealthy and he depended on himself to make his own future. Jay was born in North Dakota, and as well, had a very poor family. Prohibition was not into action at the time of his childhood but he got into some pretty dangerous stuff, for example, stealing and selling illegal items. My grandfather did not have the best education growing up. He did not care much about school and so when he turned eighteen, he had no where to really go. Jay eventually dropped out of St. Olaf’s College because in order to pay to attend there, he worked as a janitor, and could not handle it in anymore. So the story goes on, Jay Gatsby makes himself look like something he's really not to make an impression on people and especially Daisy, the women he likes. She finally attends one of his "parties", and they have a connection. In 1919 Jay is called off to WWI, and Daisy promises him she will wait for him to return home. Only two years later, she falls in love with Tom Buchanan because that is a more comfortable life for her to live, (I don't blame her). Of course he comes home, finds out, then truly dedicates his life to become wealthy, win Daisy back, and move on from the West Egg. My grandmother did kind of the same thing to my grandfather. He came home one day, and she had all of her bags packed and said "I'm leaving". There was no talking about it, not option for Woody to make it up to her, and so she just left. To me, that is not fair for a women to do such things to a man who truly loves her. Eventually Jay gets all kind of money, but just isn't happy without Daisy. They try and sneak around but Tom finds out, and it pretty much gets Jay killed. My grandfather owns more than to houses and a trucking company, but I am not sure if he's even happy with the fortune he worked up to. To me, James Gatz and my grandfather Woody, have too much in common.

  26. MR DITTES! I forgot to add my favorite quote:

    "God knows what you've been doing, everything you've been doing. You may fool me, but you can't fool God!"

    I think this applies in all situations in reality and I love to compare to all things.

    -Kelsey Boatright


Post a Comment