What Were The Rumors About Gatsby?

Updated 30 September, 2023
There are many rumors that spread about Jay Gatsby. The rumors include that he is a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm, he went to Oxford, he killed a man, and that he is a German spy. These rumors hang over Gatsby's head throughout almost the entire novel and create a very strange aura around his character.
Detailed answer:

Gatsby is a very mysterious character. Not only does he appear and disappear, but there are many rumors that spread about him. For about the first half of the novel, little is known about him and many rumors float around. As Nick, the narrator, is seeing him for the first time he observes, 'When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness'. This quote sets the tone for Gatsby's character, it provides the reader with some foreshadowing about who Gatsby really is. As the story progresses, Gatsby's character begins to unravel. The reader finds out that he is Nick's neighbor and that he is known far and wide for his extravagant parties at his marvelous mansion.
Gatsby is a mystery to Nick, because he and others who go to Gatsby’s parties don’t know who Gatsby is. Nick attempts to find Gatsby and in the process hears many ridiculous rumors about him. Some people describe him as a war hero for his role in the U.S army during the Great War (WW1). Other rumors include that he is a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm, he went to Oxford, he killed a man, and that he is a German spy. Later t turns out that the some rumors are actually true because Gatsby is really a World War 1 hero.

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