The Great Gatsby

Jay Gatsby's Representation of America

It was literary critic Lionel Trilling who quite aptly described the collective entity Jay Gatsby when he wrote, "Jay Gatsby [stands] for America itself." Jay Gatsby lives his life entrenched in unfathomable wealth. His true roots are rather mysterious, but they revolve around an anti-Calvinistic attitude and what is Jay Gatsby essentially reinventing himself. Through Gatsby's modest upbringing, domineering drive, and his tragic demise, Gatsby truly is representative of America as a whole.

From its very beginnings, America consisted of rather modest individuals who all led simple lives with accordingly simple goals (Bewley 13). Jay Gatsby, or James Gatz, began his life like the classic American ideal, through the idea of rebirth. Originally born to modest farmers, Gatsby receives his first taste of affluence from a man named Dan Cody (Mizener 182). As Fitzgerald himself puts it, "To young Gatz, resting on his oars and looking up at the railed deck, the yacht represented all the beauty and glamour in the world...Cody asked him a few questions (one of them elicited the brand new name). (Fitzgerald 106)" It is Gatsby's total reformation that aptly reflects America's reputation as the land of...

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