- Term Papers and Free Essays

The Great Gatsby

Essay by   •  December 10, 2010  •  1,034 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,275 Views

Essay Preview: The Great Gatsby

Report this essay
Page 1 of 5

The Great Gatsby

Don’t judge a book by its cover. In the novel The Great Gatsby, an aura of lies becomes an outward appearance. Gatsby creates a false background which is believed by most characters. Also, Gatsby pretends to be prestigious through the schedule he makes modeled after Benjamin Franklin’s virtuous schedule. Furthermore, Gatsby is a parallel to Biloxi such that he is the epitome of what Gatsby wants to be. Jay Gatsby puts on a mask of lies to court Daisy as shown by his false origin, his mockery of Benjamin Franklin, and his parallel to Blocks Biloxi.

Gatsby’s false background creates a whole new persona known as Jay Gatsby made up so to win Daisy over. Arnold Weinstein writes “Gatsby’s false truth is projected outwards…[he] generates reality rather than proving it” (38). Gatsby is “the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West” (Fitzgerald 65). Gatsby masks his true story of his past to make it sound as if he comes from a good family and has enough money for Daisy. He also says he was “educated at Oxford” as well as lived in “France, Venice Rome-collecting jewels” (65). Gatsby lies about what he has done because he does not want Daisy to think that he is too poor to meet her extremely high standards. Also, “To be free from the constraints of proof or evidence, to alter one’s identity, to be multiple rather than single, to overcome the laws of time and space and background: such are precisely the virtues of fiction, of the American Dream, and of Jay Gatsby” (Weinstein 27). Gatsby makes up his own life. He even gives false proof as to this second life. Gatsby “reached into his pocket, and a piece of metal, slung on a ribbon, fell into my palm” (66). This is a medal he is showing to Nick because he supposedly received because of his courage fighting in Montenegro. He also produces a picture of him at Oxford “looking a little, not much, younger-with a cricket bat in his hand” (67). His proof helps to validate his story in hopes that Daisy will believe him and see the supposed success. He fabricates his own life in order to pretend that he is indeed living as part of a well-to-do family full with old money.

Gatsby pretends to be prestigious by altering Benjamin Franklin’s schedule of virtues to become pure. The schedule “wrings the neck of fiction and glamour, showing it all to be no more than a con game” (Weinstein 24). As a young Jay Gatz, he found a “ragged old copy of a book called Hopalong Cassidy” (Fitzgerald 208). He mocks the schedule by changing the virtues into actions that are not as arduous as the original virtues; this, therefore, defeats the point of the schedule. His tweaks to the virtuous schedule are “No wasting time at Shafters, No more smoking or chewing, Read one improving book or magazine per week, Save $3.00 per week, Be better to parents" (Fitzgerald 208).

“Gatsby’s schedule is seen as comical or pathetic. Franklin’s вЂ?Cleanliness’ becomes for Gatsby вЂ?bath every day’; вЂ?Industry’ is вЂ?No wasting time at Shafters or [a name indecipherable]’; вЂ?Frugality’ is вЂ?Save $5.00 [crossed out] $3.00 per week’; Temperance is вЂ?No more smoking or chewing’; Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit’ and вЂ?Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty’ ” (Floyd C. Watkins 251). In the novel, Gatsby changes the schedule slightly to make it easier on himself.

In every single parallel Gatsby took Franklin’s general virtue and listed in its stead one concrete and very specific resolution which was less demanding than that found in his source. Gatsby does not have the strong will to stay onto a schedule with such strict moral attention. Furthermore, he can not live a strict moral life and therefore has to change it just like he has to change his life story because he wants to fit the American Dream.

Gatsby pretends to be someone he is not as shown through the character



Download as:   txt (6.8 Kb)   pdf (94.2 Kb)   docx (11 Kb)  
Continue for 4 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2010, 12). The Great Gatsby. Retrieved 12, 2010, from

"The Great Gatsby" 12 2010. 2010. 12 2010 <>.

"The Great Gatsby.", 12 2010. Web. 12 2010. <>.

"The Great Gatsby." 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010.