In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby the narrator, Nick Caraway makes a statement that, in my opinion, reveals to the reader why the book is called The Great Gatsby. “They’re a rotten crowd” Nick shouted across the lawn to Gatsby “You’re worth the whole damn lot put together. ” I agree with Nicks statement because Gatsby has outstanding values that differ and set him apart from the other characters in the book. Also the one main feature that really sets him apart from the crowd and makes him worth more than the whole crowd is his ability to set himself goals and achieve them. He had a dream, An American Dream.
Throughout the book Gatsby is portrayed as a mysterious character. The first impressions of Gatsby, which are conveyed to the reader, are through gossip. This is mainly due to Gatsby’s inaccessibility. He surrounds himself with people but never interacts, instead opting to watch other people enjoy themselves. The rumours about Gatsby are abundant and come from the very people who take advantage of his hospitality. Jordan and the two twins, tell Nick at one of Gatsby’s parties “Somebody told me that he killed a man. ” There are also disputes about which country he fought for in the war.
As one man tells Nick “I heard that from a man who knew all about him, grew up with him in Germany. ” This is opposed by another woman at the party saying, “It couldn’t be that because he was in the American army during the war. ” Gatsby’s wealth which is also a mystery to begin with, adds to his mysterious reputation. Despite these rumours circulating about Gatsby our first real impression of Gatsby is a positive one, “He smiled understandingly- much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. ”
This first impression of Gatsby is important as it shows that he knows how to work with people although he rarely associates with them. Later on in the book we learn that his real name is James Gatz, he was born in North Dakota to a poor family. Whilst serving in the army in World War 1 he met Daisy Fay (now Daisy Buchanan) and fell in love with her. He worked briefly with a millionaire, and became acquainted with the people and customs of high society. This and his love for Daisy inspired Gatsby to devote his life to the acquisition of wealth. For Daisy he would do anything, and he began making his fortune through illegal activities.
Daisy, Tom and Jordan are all part of the rotten crowd because they all have much the same questionable values. Daisy for example is selfish; she has an affair with Gatsby whilst married to Tom. She is careless for instance; running over and killing Myrtle Wilson while driving Gatsby’s car. She is immature as she doesn’t seem to know how to act her age and uses her frail character as an excuse. Finally she is materialistic in that she married Tom Buchannan because he had money even though she promised Gatsby her heart. Jordan is much the same as Daisy as she too is selfish; she left a borrowed car out in the rain and then lied about it.
She is a hypocrite; told Nick that she hates careless people when her best friends are the most careless people around. She is materialistic; always wanted to be in the wealthy class but is never accepted by that society. And in Nick’s words “incurably dishonest”, as she lies about nearly everything and most notably she cheated to win her first pro golf tournament. Also Daisy and Jordan represent the high-class/middle-high-class social group. Tom is much the same as Daisy and Jordan as he too is selfish; he had an affair with Myrtle whilst being married to Daisy.
He is cruel; to Daisy all the time and he broke Myrtles nose because she disagreed with him. He is materialistic; believes money can solve all of his problems. He is also a hypocrite; he condemns his wife for having an affair with Gatsby but has no worries about continuing his affair with Myrtle. All three of these characters are further shown to belong to the rotten crowd because when Gatsby died not one of them came to his funeral (which shows how selfish they all are especially Daisy as she loved Gatsby at more than one time in her life).
The rotten crowd also included all the people that came to Gatsby’s parties, except Nick. Although Nick disapproves of Gatsby “from beginning to end” Gatsby is not part of the “rotten crowd”. Although some could argue that Gatsby is not worth “the whole damn lot put together”, as Gatsby has his faults. These faults included his improper greediness; his tasteless pink suits; his “connection” with Meyer Wolfshiem, the person that had a hand in the fixing of the 1919 world series baseball final; his love of a woman as shallow as Daisy and his pathetic efforts to win her back by showing off what he has rather than who he is.
Although it is interesting to note that Nick fell for just a shallow a woman in Jordan Baker. However the truth of the matter is that Gatsby’s “incorruptible dream” is pure and noble and it is that which separates him from the crowd. On the other hand Tom, Daisy and Jordan are all part of the “rotten crowd”. They are without spiritual values or sympathy. Although in reality Gatsby is nothing more than a common criminal, in Nick’s eyes, and in our own, he is perceived to be worth more than the “whole damn bunch put together” because Gatsby is a man with a dream, An American Dream.
Although Gatsby is a criminal he is “likeably corrupt” and even though Nick says that he disapproved of Gatsby from “beginning to end” Nick builds quite a strong relationship between himself and Gatsby. Gatsby is also seen as a likeable character because he is not selfish and has that “drive” that keeps him going for he is always searching for more. For example in the beginning he wanted to obtain wealth, he achieved that and then he wanted more in the form of love; Daisy. Although in the end it is that drive that brings him down.
Gatsby lived life to try and catch the attention of one woman, Daisy Fay, and he almost attained that goal but never quite reached it. When the dream was gone, he had nothing left to live for. In conclusion the American Dream that Gatsby had created for himself improved him as a person. Fitzgerald has created Gatsby as a more exciting and mysterious character than any in the story. Gatsby is the only character that had the ability to set himself goals and achieve them. Although this ability brought about his downfall it was the only thing that Gatsby had to live for. For these reasons, Gatsby is “worth the whole damn lot put together. “