The Great Gatsby

The Great Gastby: Interpretation of the meaning of the new, real books on Nick's library shelves. Find the text and discuss the naunces implied by the titles of the books and the implications of the similes used to describe them.


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An owl-eyed man at a Gatsby party sits in awe in the library, murmuring with amazement that all the books on Gatsby’s shelves are "real books." But does Gatsby even read them? The image works to suggest that much of what Gatsby presents to the world is a façade; for example, he wants people to believe that he’s a well-educated man, an Oxford man, but in fact he only spent a short time there after the war. The books may represent the fact that Gatsby is a fraud – that he has built up an image of himself that is not consistent with the facts of his life. But, you could also argue that the unopened, unread books represent Gatsby himself: though there are many rumors about who he is and how he earned his money, the facts remain unexamined, unopened.