How Is Gatsby Different From His Guests?

Updated 30 September, 2024
Gatsby’s true origin is a source of contrast between himself and the world that he longs to be a part of. When comparing him with the guests, who attend his parties, Gatsby stands out due to his honesty and introverted nature.
Detailed answer:

In the Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald portrays Gatsby as a humble man and how he is so above the rest of the elite society, despite the fact that he is supposed to be representative of them.
Chapter four begins with Nick taking inventory of all the different types of people who frequented Gatsby’s parties and regularly abused Gatsby’s generosity. They are presented in a rather harsh, critical light by the way in which Nick describes them as never having “paid Gatsby the subtle tribute of knowing nothing whatever about him.” Nick exposes the society as being incredibly superficial since they all came over to share in his wealth and take advantage of his riches but not one of those people cared to talk to him (as shown through the ridiculous rumors they spread about him) or show up to his funeral. Fitzgerald uses them to represent the vast majority of society as being superficial and heartless during this time period.
Additionally, we see Gatsby take Nick out to lunch and Gatsby attempts to correct the rumors about his past that Nick has been told. Although Gatsby claims to be telling the truth, Nick is rather doubtful of what he says and especially the part about Gatsby attending Oxford. Since Nick is repeatedly described as the most honest person in that society, I took Nick’s doubt as an admission of Gatsby’s lies. At lunch we meet Gatsby’s “friend” or rather, his business associate (and link to organized crime) who fixed the 1919 World Series, Mr. Wolfsheim. This, coupled with Gatsby getting away with speeding after flashing a card at the officer, heavily suggests that Gatsby is involved in similar ventures to those of Mr. Wolfsheim’s.
In sum, Gatsby’s true origin is a source of contrast between himself and the world that he longs to be a part of, including his guests. It shows that Gatsby does not quite belong anywhere in society; he does not have money the way Tom Buchanan and Daisy do, and he did not acquire it in an honest way that Nick and others with “new money” did.

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