Gatsby is more a ruthless criminal than an irresponsible dreamer(TM) How far do you agree with this statement?

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‘Gatsby is more a ruthless criminal than an irresponsible dreamer’

How far do you agree with this statement?

The title of The Great Gatsby, to a certain degree is misleading in the sense that Gatsby is being referred to as ‘Great’. Understandably, this may be a reference to his characteristic, ‘gift of hope’ which encourages him to follow his dream through to the end.  

Considering the perception that Gatsby is a ruthless criminal, it is an understandable analysis of him considering his involvement in bootlegging and bond fraud. As his distorted version of the American dream is to achieve Daisy, Gatsby realised that he needed wealth in order to fit into Daisy’s world. Therefore, he followed the ‘Get rich quick scheme’ which was very popular during this new age of the 1920s. This scheme eventually saw him having to resort to crime as a way of accumulating his wealth. Gatsby can be classed as a type of ‘gangster’, and as one he would have had to use many people and conned many people in order to get to where he needed to be. ‘Bootlegging’ was a con as it was the illegal selling of ‘watered-down’ alcohol during the ‘prohibition’. Not only did he take advantage of people as a gangster, but he continued this with people such as Nick and Jordan. Throughout the novel he uses them to get closer to reaching is true dream which is to retrieve Daisy. In chapter IV, Gatsby reveals to Nick that ‘…Miss Baker has kindly consented to speak to you about this matter.’ Here Gatsby selfishly interrupts their arranged date in order to make Jordan inform Nick of Gatsby’s undying love for Daisy and the history which accompanies it. Once Nick knows of this, Gatsby uses Jordan to persuade Nick to arrange tea between her and Gatsby. Jordan says to Nick in chapter IV that he is ‘just supposed to invite her to tea’. The way in which Gatsby appears to have planned this all shows how he created this friendship for means of no end, so that he could manipulate it to his own advantage.

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Gatsby is a ruthless criminal in the way he creates a false persona. Kathleen Parkinson wrote:

‘Jay Gatsby flaunts his wealth about through the parties that he holds and the lavish clothes that he wears. This appears to be only a front that Gatsby hides behind as a means of being accepted in this high society.’

This is true, as Gatsby holds these parties so that he can create a name for himself in this social group, which may have allowed him to eventually break away from periphery. This was a means of getting closer to ...

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