“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Plot Analysis

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby has been presented in the sense of the storyteller, Nick Carraway, who has of late traveled to Manhattan to pursue the profession of a bond seller. Nick becomes progressively fascinated by his rich neighbor by the name Gatsby who prepares numerous wild, spendthrift festivities in his expensive mansion. The unpredictable Gatsby is not the person he claims to be as Nick later finds that behind his tremendous affluence are serious faults. In reference to Gatsby, the novel asserts that “he’s a bootlegger” and “one time he killed a man who had found out that he was nephew to Von Hindenburg and second cousin to the devil” (Fitzgerald 48). Other people who feature in the story encompass Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s cousin, and Tom, her spouse, whose experiences appear to portray that much money does not signify happiness in life. Irrespective of Gatsby’s unconventional rise into affluence, a murky cloud covers his successes throughout the story. Gatsby is not a pure icon of accomplishment since he engages in crime and other vices. Some of the individuals with whom Gatsby likes to associate are corrupt people who do not represent what hard work and honest living may achieve. Most of the story’s main characters are preoccupied with greed, corruption, egotism, and selfishness. Nearly all the time, such characters are ready to engage in lies, trickery, theft, and at times even murder to achieve what they desire. The most important question underlying The Great Gatsby is not about the authenticity of the American dream, but instead, its fundamental cost.


The first lesson which one learns from the story as Nick narrates it is that wealth classifies people into social groups hence the need to work hard to get it legally and rise to a reputable status. This is because if wealth has been illegitimately acquired, one’s success is short-lived. The reader finds that Jay Gatsby does not get rich until when he is already in his adulthood. He was brought up in a poor Midwestern region in the US before learning the ways of the wealthy people when operating on a boat. Following his contribution during the Second World War, Gatsby starts to make money and acquire a reputable status within the community. He makes a considerable proportion of his income through the illegitimate occupation of bootlegging. Irrespective of being a criminal, Gatsby rises into affluence fast, and this enables him to travel to New York, where he finds Daisy. His account of rising from poverty to prosperity underscores the subject of social class. This glory motivates other characters because they are continually endeavoring to advance into high positions in society. The second lesson is that wealth does not avert loneliness and cannot buy true friends. Irrespective of Gatsby’s prosperity and expensive parties, as Nick identifies, it is apparent that he is a lonely man who has hardly any lasting connection in his life. Shockingly, following Gatsby’s murder, Nick finds it hard to gather his friends to attend the funeral. At this time, the faithful partygoers do not stand with their comrade, which shows that their relationship with him is fake and pegged on money. Meyer, his close business associate, rejects the invitation to attend the funeral and tells Nick that “when a man gets killed I never like to get mixed up in it in any way. I keep out” (Fitzgerald 126). It is only Nick who stands as Gatsby’s loyal friend, which shows that his hunt for affluence comes before the desire to establish significant relationships.

The third lesson which one learns from Nick’s story is that corrupting one’s way into affluence has a bitter end. From his teenage, Gatsby hates poverty and desires to become wealthy. After just a couple of weeks, he leaves college, which he bases on the inability to tackle janitorial tasks that he is given to enable him to pay his tuition. The way Gatsby quickly acquires his wealth is mysterious even to his party attendees, who spread rumors concerning his past. Most of his colleagues affirm that he was a criminal and one says that “somebody told me they thought he killed a man once,” while others believe that he was a German detective in the warfare (Fitzgerald 36). Nevertheless, the truth is finally revealed by Tom Buchanan, who undertakes an investigation the moment he becomes suspicious of Gatsby’s affair with his wife. He realizes that Gatsby acquired his wealth criminally through bootlegging. He could not hide his criminal records forever, and this is the same thing that happens to people who obtain money illegally today. Their end is often shameful and bitter, with some being jailed and others killed. The Great Gatsby may be deemed a tragedy because it is centered on a larger-than-life actor whose desire for wealth leads to his engagement in criminal activities and ends in his vicious death. Gatsby’s catastrophic mistake is his failure to arise from past fantasies and accept reality. The fascination with regaining his past intimacy with Daisy results in his engagement in crime and treachery. He resorts to bootlegging, practicing business with criminals, and creating a false identity. Although Gatsby’s involvement in crime is suicidal, his tragic rejection of realism eventually results in death.

The Connection of Gatsby’s Life to Nick’s Philosophical Musings

Many people have taken the American dream to be the pursuit of material gains. Nevertheless, it has resulted in some inferior outcomes, lengthy working periods for considerable ventures, and minimal hours for the enjoyment of success. The expression “rags to riches” is often interlinked with the perfection of the American dream. When the poor luckily acquire a well-paying job, they become lavished with affluence, thus the terms “rags and riches”. Nonetheless, commensurate with the American dream, hard work and sacrifice are what generate success and not extravagant use of money. As in the way the US residents live with the hope of attaining the American dream, so has Gatsby been hopeful of winning Daisy’s love with the expectation of enjoying his future life with her. While referring to Gatsby, Nick states that “he had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it” (Fitzgerald 133). In the story, Gatsby’s erroneous mistake of expecting to realize his vision to enjoy life with Daisy represents the rags to affluence inclination of the quest to achieve the American dream. The narrator underscores Gatsby’s extravagant life and discloses that he has not always been affluent. At the commencement of the novel, Gatsby portrays himself as a person from a well-off background and asserts that his father died. Nonetheless, in the final chapter, the reader comes across Mr. Gatz, who is Gatsby’s father, and this is when the truth is revealed that he was not born in a wealthy family as he insinuates. Gatsby had falsified information concerning his past. In about five years before his death, Gatsby manages to become affluent enough to impress the woman whose love he had all along hoped to win, Daisy Buchanan, although his happiness was only short-lived.

The American dream generates the conviction that any person, irrespective of where they were born or their social class, can realize their happiness and success in a country which makes upward mobility a possibility for all. Nonetheless, akin to wealth, this may only be attained by taking risks, working hard, persevering, and sacrifice instead of occurring by chance. Similar to the mistake which many people continue to make, Gatsby is so firmly centered on winning Daisy’s love and making her happy that he ignores the affluence which he had already acquired. Gatsby lavishly uses the money which he possesses by holding extravagant festivities. The main objective of the parties thrown by Gatsby is to draw as much recognition as possible with the expectation that such fame will get Daisy’s attention and tempt her to attend. Attributable to his feeling of infatuation for Daisy, Gatsby creates the evil plan of separating her from her current spouse and reviving the love they earlier shared. He is still convinced that he would eventually be with Daisy despite any arising hindrance in his plot. Nonetheless, Gatsby’s spendthrift new lifestyle and uncontrollably obsessive heart result in his death. The narrator proclaims that “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further” (Fitzgerald 133). Just as Gatsby lives with the hope of a better future, the challenges which the US residents face do not obliterate their optimism of soon attaining the American dream.


The Great Gatsby has been narrated in the sagacity of the storyteller, Nick Carraway, who has of late toured Manhattan in the pursuit of the occupation of a bond seller. Nick becomes increasingly fascinated by his rich neighbor named Gatsby, who holds frequent wild, spendthrift festivities in his luxurious mansion. Regardless of Gatsby’s unconventional rise into prosperity, a murky cloud covers his achievements throughout the story. Gatsby is not the pure representation of success that he appears to be. The utmost question which could be fundamental to the Great Gatsby is not about the legitimacy of the American dream, but its essential cost. The first lesson from the novel is that wealth categorizes people into social groups hence the need to work hard to get it legitimately and rise to a reputable position. The second lesson is that prosperity does not avert loneliness and cannot buy true love or friendship. Most of Gatsby’s friends, including Daisy, did not attend his funeral, which shows that he did not have true friends despite his affluence and festivities. The third lesson which one learns from Nick’s story is that illegally finding one’s way into prosperity has a bitter end. The fascination with regaining his past intimacy with Daisy results in his engagement in crime, which leads to his death. Just as Gatsby lives with the expectation of a better future, the problems which the US residents experience do not eliminate their optimism of soon achieving the American dream.

Work Cited

Fitzgerald, Scott. The Great Gatsby. Broadview Press, 2018.

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