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Jay Gatsby

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Gender  Male
Creator  F. Scott Fitzgerald
Significant other  Daisy Buchanan
Family  Henry C. Gatz (father)
Movie  The Great Gatsby
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Created by  Francis Scott Fitzgerald
Portrayed by  Warner Baxter (1926) Alan Ladd (1949) Kirk Douglas (1950) Robert Redford (1974) Toby Stephens (2000) Andrew Scott (2011) Leonardo DiCaprio (2013)
Full name  James "Jimmy" Gatz (real name)
Occupation  Yachtsman Soldier Entrepreneur Bootlegger
Played by  Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Redford, Callan McAuliffe, Alan Ladd, Toby Stephens
Similar  Nick Carraway, Daisy Buchanan, Tom Buchanan, Meyer Wolfsheim, Myrtle Wilson

A psychoanalysis of jay gatsby the great gatsby

Jay Gatsby (born James "Jimmy" Gatz) is the title character of the 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby. The character, a wealthy man and the owner of a luxurious mansion where extravagant parties are often hosted, is described by the novel's narrator, Nick Carraway, as being "the single most hopeful person I've ever met".


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Character biography

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James Gatz hailed from rural North Dakota, where he was born to a dirt poor German American farming family in, we can deduce from later dates, 1890. Gatz despised the limits of poverty. He dropped out of St. Olaf College in Minnesota after two weeks because he was "dismayed at its ferocious indifference to the drums of his destiny" and (as he explains to narrator Nick Carraway) he could not bear working as a janitor to support himself through college any longer.

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After dropping out, he went to Lake Superior, where he met copper tycoon Dan Cody in Little Girl Bay. Cody became Gatz's mentor and invited him to join his ten-year yacht trek. At seventeen, Gatz changed his name to Jay Gatsby and, over the next five years, learned the ways of the wealthy. Cody left Gatsby $25,000 in his will, but after his death, Cody's mistress cheated Gatsby out of the inheritance.

In 1917, during his training for the infantry in World War I, 27-year-old Gatsby met and fell in love with 18-year-old debutante Daisy Fay, who was everything Gatsby was not: rich and from a patrician Louisville family.

During the war, Gatsby reached the rank of Major in the U.S. 16th Infantry Regiment, and was decorated for valor for his participation in the Marne and the Argonne. After the war (as he also tells Nick Carraway years later), he briefly attended Trinity College, Oxford. While there, he received a letter from Daisy, telling him that she had married the wealthy Tom Buchanan. Gatsby then decided to commit his life to becoming a man of the kind of wealth and stature he believed would win Daisy's love.

Gatsby returned home and settled in New York, which was being transformed by the Jazz Age. Gatsby took advantage of Prohibition by making a fortune from bootlegging and built connections with various gangsters such as Meyer Wolfsheim (who Gatsby claims is "the man who fixed the World's Series back in 1919").

With his vast income, Gatsby purchased a mansion in the fictional West Egg (a reference to Great Neck or perhaps Kings Point) of Long Island. West Egg lies on the opposite bay from old-money East Egg (a reference to Sands Point), where Daisy, Tom, and their three-year-old daughter Pammy live. At his West Egg mansion, Gatsby hosted elaborate parties every weekend, open to all comers, in an attempt to attract Daisy as a party guest. Through Daisy's cousin Nick Carraway, Gatsby finally had a chance to reunite with her. Gatsby did not reveal to Daisy or to Nick the truth of how he came to acquire his wealth. During several meetings, Gatsby tried to revive his relationship with Daisy to what had been 5 years ago. He sought to woo her with his wealth and asked her to leave her boorish, faithless husband.

At the Buchanan home, Jordan, Nick, Jay, and the Buchanans decided to visit New York City. Tom borrowed Gatsby's yellow Rolls Royce to drive up to the city. On the way to New York City, Tom made a detour at a gas station in "the Valley of Ashes", a run-down part of Long Island. The owner, George Wilson, shared his concern that his wife, Myrtle, may be having an affair. This unnerves Tom, who has been having an affair with Myrtle, and he leaves in a hurry.

During the party in an expensive hotel suite, the casual conversation evolved into a confrontation between Daisy, Gatsby and Tom. In a fit of anger, Gatsby insisted that Daisy loved him, not Tom, and that she only married Tom for his money. Daisy admitted she loved both Tom and Gatsby. The party then broke up, with Daisy driving Gatsby out of New York City in the yellow Rolls-Royce and Tom leaving with Daisy's friend Jordan Baker and Nick in Tom's car.

From her upstairs room at the gas station, Myrtle saw an approaching car. Mistakenly believing Tom had returned for her, she ran out towards the car, but was struck and killed instantly. Panicked, Daisy drove away from the scene of the accident. At Daisy's house in East Egg, Gatsby promised Daisy he would take the blame if they were ever caught.

Tom told George that it was Gatsby's car that killed Myrtle. George went to Gatsby's house in West Egg, where he shot and killed Gatsby before committing suicide. Gatsby is later found dead, floating in his pool.

Only one of Gatsby's party guests, known as Owl Eyes, attended his funeral. Also at the funeral are Nick Carraway and Gatsby's father, Henry C. Gatz, who stated that he was proud of his son's achievement as a self-made millionaire.


Jay Gatsby has been portrayed by several actors in film adaptations of Fitzgerald's novel. Among the actors to portray the character are Alan Ladd in the 1949 film adaptation, Robert Redford in the 1974 film adaptation, Leonardo DiCaprio in director Baz Luhrmann's 2013 film adaptation and Gregg Sulkin in Kevin Asch's 2014 drama film Affluenza, billed as a loose re-telling of the novel set among a group of rich and privileged teenagers in Long Island before the 2008 financial crash. The character is renamed Dylan Carson in this version. There was also a 1926 silent film in which Gatsby was portrayed by Warner Baxter, but there are no remaining copies known to exist.


Toby Stephens played Gatsby in the 2000 television adaptation.


Kirk Douglas starred as Gatsby in an adaptation broadcast on CBS' Family Hour of Stars on January 1, 1950.

Andrew Scott played Gatsby in the 2012 two-part BBC Radio 4 Classic Serial production.

Jay Gatsby


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