The Great Gatsby: What Makes Him So Great? [spoilers]

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amcanelly3
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The Great Gatsby: What Makes Him So Great? [spoilers]

Post by amcanelly3 » 09 Jul 2017, 22:35

I absolutely love reading The Great Gatsby with my 11th graders. It is an almost perfect image of the Roaring '20s and hits on major themes. One of the things I ask my students to answer and defend is: is Gatsby really great? If so, what makes him so great? I've had some pretty good discussions with my kids, but I've only ever discussed it with my students. I thought with a larger, perhaps little older group of participants I might find a different perspective.

So, do you think Gatsby is great or no? Why or why not?

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Post by Reuben 92 » 04 Sep 2017, 12:24

I think we are supposed to be torn, just like Nick Carraway and Fitzgerald himself. Gatsby's optimism and energy are inspiring but his obsessions destroy him. Fitzgerald is so good with ambiguity, and I like to read the title as a semi-straightforward, semi-ironic statement about Gatsby.
"Every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer's work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what...he would perhaps never have perceived in himself."
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Post by Bluecobia » 05 Sep 2017, 17:03

I have not read it in many years. My main impression was one of confusion . I remember lots of partying. I did not get a great impression of Gatsby.
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Post by Castenia17 » 20 Feb 2018, 10:27

The Great Gatsby was good. The way the book ended was tragic. The great Gatsby showed how greed and friendship could lead to death. I enjoyed the book, but was really confused.

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Post by GabbiV » 08 Mar 2018, 22:58

What made him great in my eyes was his over the top romanticism. He was in love and he wanted to show everyone the magnitude of his devotion, yet could never take that final step, always yearning for that green light.

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Post by ScoutWrites » 14 Mar 2018, 18:16

I think Gatsby's greatness is a facade. He may be rich, he may throw the best parties, and everyone may want to be near him, but in reality his life is empty and he suffers from a lack of the thing he truly desires.

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Post by GabbiV » 15 Mar 2018, 09:42

ScoutWrites wrote:
14 Mar 2018, 18:16
I think Gatsby's greatness is a facade. He may be rich, he may throw the best parties, and everyone may want to be near him, but in reality his life is empty and he suffers from a lack of the thing he truly desires.
Everything you've said is true, but I wonder what your definition of greatest is then. Only the most egotistical call themselves "Great", so it should follow that one's outward contributions/traits are what determine the title, since that's what most people see.

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Post by ScoutWrites » 15 Mar 2018, 12:43

GabbiV wrote:
15 Mar 2018, 09:42
ScoutWrites wrote:
14 Mar 2018, 18:16
I think Gatsby's greatness is a facade. He may be rich, he may throw the best parties, and everyone may want to be near him, but in reality his life is empty and he suffers from a lack of the thing he truly desires.
Everything you've said is true, but I wonder what your definition of greatest is then. Only the most egotistical call themselves "Great", so it should follow that one's outward contributions/traits are what determine the title, since that's what most people see.
Well, what makes him great? His looks, his charm, his money?
We don't really know how he made his money, but we can guess it wasn't entirely legal. We do know why he has so much money: he just wants to look good, show off, and win the heart of another man's wife.
I think the point of the title is that everyone might think Gatsby is great, but as the reader we get to see the dark truth behind that supposed greatness.

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Post by GabbiV » 15 Mar 2018, 12:56

ScoutWrites wrote:
15 Mar 2018, 12:43
GabbiV wrote:
15 Mar 2018, 09:42
ScoutWrites wrote:
14 Mar 2018, 18:16
I think Gatsby's greatness is a facade. He may be rich, he may throw the best parties, and everyone may want to be near him, but in reality his life is empty and he suffers from a lack of the thing he truly desires.
Everything you've said is true, but I wonder what your definition of greatest is then. Only the most egotistical call themselves "Great", so it should follow that one's outward contributions/traits are what determine the title, since that's what most people see.
Well, what makes him great? His looks, his charm, his money?
We don't really know how he made his money, but we can guess it wasn't entirely legal. We do know why he has so much money: he just wants to look good, show off, and win the heart of another man's wife.
I think the point of the title is that everyone might think Gatsby is great, but as the reader we get to see the dark truth behind that supposed greatness.
That sounds very similar to the Roarin' 20s, so I guess Gatsby is Great just like the times he lives in are revered. Actually, mind blown, Gastby represents the 20's. Never put that together before!

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Post by RebeccasReading » 15 Mar 2018, 18:03

I think it's his good heart and kind soul. Behind all of his flash and confidence, he's just a man who wants to be with the woman he loves. He would do anything for the people he cares about. That's the thing that always stood out to be about Gatsby. He's a good man just trying to find his way in the world.

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Post by Hlvp » 18 Mar 2018, 23:18

I believe that Gatsby's greatness was similar to the era in which the book was surrounded by: the Gilded Age. Although we see a great man who lives lavishly and with grandeur, if you were to scratch the surface you would see the lone and desperate man that he truly was. Unfortunately, it was like that often around those times.The West Egg was known for "new money", and the reader can assume that many of those people were in the same business that Gatsby was at that time, therefore, Gatsby would not have been 'great' at all, just one of the lucky ones.
In conclusion, if it wasn't for the grand parties that made him well-known in the city, Gatsby would have been portrayed as an average man during his time with a lot of money and an unhealthy obsession of a girl from his past.

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Post by Libs_Books » 20 Mar 2018, 01:39

I believe that the word "Great" is chosen by Nick, the narrator, and he admires the way Gatsby followed his dream to the end. Even though it was an illusion, it was, in a way, magnificent. However, I'm a fan of the idea that Nick is in denial about being gay, and is in love with Gatsby. Gatsby is a flawed character - ridiculous in some ways, but decent in many others.

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Post by Russell Burke » 27 Mar 2018, 11:17

It's tough to judge. Gatsby does have a sort of irrepressible buoyancy to him that's hard to resist, but at the same time his inability to move on from the past is pitiable. Then again, if you think about the last sentence of the book--"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"--perhaps Fitzgerald is saying this tendency to live in the past is universal.

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Post by Tbunde5 » 26 Apr 2018, 07:08

ScoutWrites wrote:
14 Mar 2018, 18:16
I think Gatsby's greatness is a facade. He may be rich, he may throw the best parties, and everyone may want to be near him, but in reality his life is empty and he suffers from a lack of the thing he truly desires.
I agree wholeheartedly. I had to read this in college and, I confess, it was one book that drove me to the Cliffs Notes. I have since picked it up again. It shows how we put on a face in public to give the impression of greatness, never showing our flaws. This in turn becomes our biggest flaw.

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Post by Uche Balogun » 01 May 2018, 06:09

Gatsby's generosity, enthusiasm, excitement for life and optimism were great to Nick. Nick would have liked to be like Gatsby, even his obsession with Daisy could be seen, in a twisted way, as dedication.

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