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The Great Gatsby Characters Analysis and Explanation
The Great Gatsby Characters List
Jay Gatsby is the protagonist of the story, narrated by his neighbor and friend Nick Carraway. Gatsby grew up poor on a farm in North Dakota and has always been attracted to the fame and fortune, so much so that while reinventing himself, he makes sure that everyone is oblivious of his upbringing. Gatsby is said to be an irrepressible dreamer and is known for his extravagant parties he throws every week. His persona is his invention, even changing his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby.
Gatsby’s love interest is Daisy Buchanan, who is now married to Tom Buchanan. Gatsby and Daisy were lovers while he was an officer. Daisy promises to wait for him to return from the war but gets married while Gatsby is studying at Oxford upon his return. He becomes wealthy to win Daisy back. Gatsby makes a fortune in organized crime and illegal liquor trade. He even buys the mansion at West Egg to impress her.
As the story progresses, it is revealed that he is nothing but an innocent man trying to chase the American dream. He changes himself, and his optimism and individualism are taken over by wealth. He is one side to Fitzgerald’s representation of the rich, where moral values are replaced by greed and unrealistic ambition. His view of Daisy is idealistic and perfect and believes that she is flawless, which he must pursue.
Gatsby meets a tragic end when Daisy ends their affair, and Nickorge Wilson shots him after taking the fall for Daisy, who killed Myrtle Wilson in his car. However, even though he is blinded by ambition, he is loyal and good-hearted.
Nick Carraway is the narrator of the story. He moves to New York from the Midwest to learn more about the bond business. Nick is a Yale graduate and has fought in the World War. He shifts into the house next to Jay Gatsby, and he falls in love with what Gatsby represents. Nick shifts into West Egg, where all the rich and wealthy reside. He dates Jordan Baker, a professional golfer, and throughout their relationship, we see an inner conflict that arises from his mixed reaction from his new lifestyle. Nick is quiet and open-minded, which makes him the appropriate narrator.
Nick is also the cousin of Daisy Buchanan, the love interest of Jay Gatsby. He witnesses their age-old romance flourish and fails. Nick represents another part of Fitzgerald’s representation of the wealthy and confronts the moral emptiness that is accompanied by a lavish lifestyle. He realizes, throughout many instances in the book, that though this celebration may seem attractive, there is a certain amount of degradation of traditional values. He decides to shift back to the Midwest, a symbol of returning to moral values.
Daisy is the wife of Tom Buchanan and the cousin of Nick. She is the love interest of Gatsby. They first meet in Kentucky, and they fall in love. She promises to wait for him after he returns but is married to Tom Buchanan, to whom she is unhappily married.
As Gatsby views her as perfect and flawless, she enjoys money, luxury, and is sardonic. After realizing how wealthy Gatsby is, she rekindles their romance. Her true intentions are revealed when Daisy kills Myrtle with Gatsby’s car, and Gatsby takes the fall for it. She chooses Tom in the end, which proves that she is materialistic and in love with wealth. Tom and Daisy move away before Gatsby’s funeral. However, there are moments where she does love Gatsby, but in the end, she is proved to be amoral and is a symbol of greed.
The husband of Daisy Buchanan, he stands for the power and single-mindedness of the elite. He is physically and mentally sturdy. After experiencing early fame, he loses his spotlight. He tries to pursue that part of his youth amongst his failures. He is portrayed as a racist, mentioning how the white race will utterly be submerged. Tom has an affair with Myrtle Wilson and thus does not play the victim card when he learns about Daisy’s relationship. However, his jealousy triumphs all. Tom represents what Daisy desires from life, luxury, wealth, and ease and chooses to remain married.
Jordan Baker is a famous golfer and is romantically involved with Nick. She represents a new age of women who do not abide by the conventional standards of female behavior. Her cynical and self-centered nature clashes with Nick’s personality.
The fame blinds Jordan that she even cheats at the Golf tournament and is dishonest towards Nick. Jordan is portrayed as a pragmatist and one of the most realistic characters in the novel, which shows the reader how the world truly works. At the same time, she breaks the stereotype of beauty and being a man’s fantasy, which Daisy portrays.
Myrtle is the wife of George Wilson. She feels caged in her marriage. They live in the “valley of ashes.” She is Tom’s mistress, hoping to climb up the social ladder and believes that Tom truly loves her. She expresses disgust towards the servants, showing how much wealth and luxury can affect morality towards your class. Tom sees her as another possession and asserts his chauvinism over her. When George becomes aware of her affair, he locks her up in a room. While she tries to escape, she is killed by Daisy. She becomes victim to the wrongdoings of the wealthy, who pay no price for their sins. Like Gatsby, she too seeks a life filled with money but meets a tragic end.
George Wilson is the husband of Mrytle Wilson wand the owner of the run-down auto shop in the valley of ashes. He is devastated when he finds out about Mrytle’s affair and seeks revenge for her death. He murders Gatsby under the impression that he killed Myrtle in his car.
Meyer Wolfsheim: Friend of Gatsby who he claims had fixed the 1919 World Series. He is a prominent figure in organized crime and helped Gatsby make his fortune. He is aquatinted with Gatsby, which hints that he still carries our illegal activity.
Kilpisringer: A freeloader who lives in Gatsby’s mansion and takes advantage of his wealth. He disappears after Gatsby’s death.
Owl Eyes: Eccentric drunk whom Nick meets at his first party of Gatsby.