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What Were the Rumors about Gatsby?

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Jay Gatsby has made a name for himself among wealthy socialites. In the book, he throws lavish parties every other weekend. However, Gatsby remains mysterious to his party guests. They believe he might be a German spy, a bootlegger, and a war hero. Moreover, some believe he is a relative of the Kaiser. He is rumored to have killed people as well!

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The Great Gatsby has achieved the status of a true classic. It must be one of the most popular and admired works of American literary fiction. We can enjoy following the complicated lives of four wealthy characters, including Jay Gatsby. The narrator, Nick Carraway, is fascinated by the persona of Gatsby. It is partly due to Jay’s masterful skills to remain mysterious. He often drops little insights about his life story to Nick and his party guests. Since so little is known about his background, people start to speculate. As a result, numerous rumors have been spread about Jay Gatsby.

Gatsby never reveals the origins of his wealth to his quests. Therefore, some start to believe that he is Kaiser Wilhelm’s nephew or cousin. They assume it is where he gets his money from. One young woman reveals at a party that Gatsby does not want trouble with anybody. She recalls that Gatsby sent her a new gown after she ripped her own at one of his gatherings. The girl believes he has done it to avoid any problems. In reality, Gatsby has probably sent her a gown out of politeness. Plus, he is very particular about his image of nobility and infinite wealth.

In chapter 4, Nick recalls that he has overheard some ladies talking about Gatsby being a bootlegger. Carraway later meets men who say Gatsby is Von Hindenburg’s nephew. They add that he has tried to kill a man who attempted to reveal his relation to Von Hindenburg.

Gatsby himself creates the majority of rumors. But in fact, he does not come from a wealthy Midwest family, as he claims. Nick says that Gatsby “invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent.”

It is later revealed that Gatsby created a new identity for himself. He did it to make a name for himself among the New York elite. His real name is James Gatz. He is the son of a poor farmer from North Dakota. Gatsby decides to change his name at the age of seventeen. Before he is shipped to Europe to fight in World War I, he comes to Louisville. There he meets Daisy and falls in love with her. Upon his return to America, Jay finds out that Daisy is married. It sets him on a mission to win her back.

In order to attract Daisy’s attention, Jay gets into shady business with Dan Cody. In just three years, he has accumulated enough wealth to buy a house in West Egg. There he would start throwing extravagant parties with the hope that Daisy attends.

Later in the story, it gets evident that every character wears a mask. No one wants to reveal their true self. Jay uses rumors to create an illusion. Daisy, Jordan, and Tom play along and pretend to be different as well. It turns out Gatsby’s party guests are a good match for him.

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1. IvyPanda. "What Were the Rumors about Gatsby?" October 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-were-the-rumors-about-gatsby/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. "What Were the Rumors about Gatsby?" October 23, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/q/what-were-the-rumors-about-gatsby/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'What Were the Rumors about Gatsby'. 23 October.

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