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Was Gatsby Really Great?

Throughout the novel, James Gatz (aka Jay Gatsby) is oftentimes the life of the party.  Before he was wealthy, Daisy loved him.  Upon his return to the United States after WWI, he built a grand life for himself, and he was very involved in the New York social scene.  Yet, once he is murdered, hardly any one shows up to his funeral.

Fitzgerald ultimately titled his novel “The Great Gatsby,” but he struggled to come up with a name.  Before choosing this title he thought of names like “On the Road to West Egg,” “Under the Red, White, and Blue,” “The High-Bouncing Lover,” and “Among Ash-heaps and Millionaires.”  Please respond to the following two questions:

1.  Is the title of Fitzgerald’s novel appropriate?  Why or why not?

2. If you HAD to re-name it, what would you title the novel?

18 Responses to “Was Gatsby Really Great?”

  1. Michael D wrote:

    The Great Gatsby is an appropriate title for the novel as it adds to the irony F. Scott Fitzgerald creates. Gatsby creates a new image for himself in order to impress Daisy. As a result, others view him as untouchable, wealthy, mysterious, and great. This image falls apart when he dies because almost no one finds his funeral to be worth their time. I would have chosen “Under His Eyes” as a title for the novel because the billboard is seemingly unimportant detail, but ends up playing a more significant role.


    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink
    • Michael D wrote:

      Even though his wealth may have been illegally obtained, Gatsby’s social status is still “great.”


      Friday, April 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Permalink
      • Marcelo C wrote:

        Social status refers to multiple catagories in which people are put according to their lifestyles. Gatsby’s ‘great’ social status merits him an atrocious death, faliure in acquiring the love of Daisy; how is this ‘great’? Gatsby’s social status tarnishes his life, and no social status is worth the life of any human being.


        Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 12:18 am | Permalink
        • Josh C. wrote:

          True, but the term “great” doesn’t necessarily denote his moral values or life choices. The term “great” is used to show his infamy, secrecy, and is a product of the person he seems to be. Just because he is the “Great Gatsby” does not mean he makes great choices, and most likely was not intended to be used in this way.


          Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 1:15 am | Permalink
  2. Erinn S. wrote:

    I don’t think the title worked for the book. I was expecting some really amazing ending, where Gatsby becomes some sort of hero. Instead he gets killed protecting Daisy, who in the end forgot about him. I think he should have chosen “Among Ash-heaps and Millionaires”. I do not think the title should have been centered around Gatsby, considering at some points he is not even involved. “Among Ash-heaps and Millionaires” would have represented what the story was actually about.


    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 11:42 pm | Permalink
  3. Katie B wrote:

    Ultimately, I believe that the title, “The Great Gatsby,” deems appropriate according to the plot line. Although he failed to earn the attention of many people with his death, Gatsby proved himself great in many aspects. His ego was great, his social status was great, his dreams were great, and his success and wealth were great at least as they appeard from the outside. Although through the clinging to an unrachable dream and his choking fantasies which shadowed him from the truths of realizations in his life, he may not have ever gained mental and emotional greatness. He was in a constant state of gazing into the rich future that lie ahead with daisy and the careless wealth that accompanied her; all merely a fable. Along with these reasons, I am also not a fan of the other names Fitzgerald chose. If I HAD to rename the novel (and I am not very creative) I would probably name it “Hidden Under Wealth.”


    Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink
  4. Keegan G. wrote:

    Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” has the right title because Gatsby was a legendary and grand figure on the New York social scene. Even though he wasn’t the most honest and kind- hearted of people, Gatsby’s extravagant reputation and way of life makes a lot of people want to be as successful and as rich as he is. Another possible title for “The Great Gatsby” would be “Gatsby: The Legend.” This title would work as well because Gatsby’s story and lifestyle has fascinated and captivated so many people.


    Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 1:10 am | Permalink
  5. Kelly C. wrote:

    I think that The Great Gatsby is an appropriate title for the novel. Even though Gatsby has only his father and Nick at his funeral, Gatsby still makes a name for himself; he still achieves what he wants, to make a fortune for himself. Even though he may not achieve them by the most moral of means, he shows great determination and drive to achieve his goals, which is a sign of greatness. If I had to re-name the novel, I would call it “Living a Dream”. It shows that Gatsby still was able to live out his dream, even if only for a small period of time.


    Friday, April 19, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink
  6. Andrew R. wrote:

    I think the title The Great Gatsby is very appropiate for this novel. The title represents the plot line of the novel and adds to the picture F. Scott Fitzgerald is presenting. Gatsby throughout the novel is trying to create a new image for himself to impress and win over Daisy. As he does this, people start seeing him as a wealthy, steller, but yet mysterious and odd man. In the end, Gatsby is murdered and not one person who attended his amazing parties showed up to his funeral. I would have titled the novel “Across the Green-Lit Bay” because of how Gatsby always imagined himself with Daisy while gazing at her dock from his backyard.


    Friday, April 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm | Permalink
  7. Will E. wrote:

    The title of The Great Gatsby is appropriate for the novel. The title shows one of the main characters and how far his fake persona has gone into his reputation and his personal life. Gatsby had always wanted to be great, and he spent his entire life perusing that dream of greatness. He eventually forgot himself and became the lie. This deception is one of the main mysteries of the novel and one deserving the title. If I had to rename it, I would go with “Under the Green Light” because of the green light’s importance in the novel.


    Friday, April 19, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink
  8. Lauren K wrote:

    I love the title of the book!! The “great” Gatsby is perfect because to others, that was what Gatsby was. Everyone saw him as this mysterious, untouchable figure. They were honored by his presence and blown away by his lavish and grand parties. However, I believe that Fitzgerald may have made the title a satire on Gatsby. Gatsby wasn’t actually all of that stuff….he was raised in a poor Midwestern family, and had been pining over the SAME GIRL for several years. He has no REAL friends, and I find his life extremely pathetic. Also, no one came to his funeral which is just the icing on the cake. So, in conclusion, I find the title very appropriate. If I reeeeaaaly had to rename it, I would name it “New York’s Finest”.


    Friday, April 19, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
  9. Mary Rose F. wrote:

    We don’t know the details of what Daisy’s and Gatsby’s relationship was like so I do not think it is safe to say that she was in love with him. She didn’t know if he was wealthy or not, but a man in uniform is usually thought of as blessed, if not a member of high-society. He seems like he is in love with Daisy, but I think Daisy is just a gold-digger. While Gatsby is “great” in that he is wealthy and looked upon highly on the social ladder after he makes an abundance of money, he does not seem to have the true qualities of a “great” person. When I think of a great person, I think of a role model that is kind, giving, and respected by all. Gatsby portrays these qualities in a few ways but overall he just seemed shy to me. I think that if he put himself out there more to the community and not just the people in the “high-class” who had all the glamour that Gatsby was looking for (Plato!), then others would have remembered him more for what he did and not just his parties and money when he died. Overall, the title “Great Gatsby” does not fit the novel stupendously because of this lack of greatness. If I were to re-name the novel, I would call it “What is it Worth?” because of how love can cost people economically, physically, and mentally. If Gatsby knew he was going to die for covering up for what his love did, would he chase after Daisy so much? Would he think that all of the illegal scandal he got into was worth not winning Daisy’s love in the end?


    Friday, April 19, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Permalink
  10. Giulia B. wrote:

    I believe that the Great Gatsby is a great ( :D) title for the book. Although no one showed up to his funeral, Gatsby’s whole persona revolves around the idea that he is a great, marvelous, mysterious man. So, when referring to the “great” in the Great Gatsby, that isn’t claiming that he is great, the title is just going back to the idea that Gatsby had that reputation. If I had to re name the novel, I would name it something intense like “Under the Doctor’s Eyes” or “Gloriously Gatz” (OK the last one may have been a rip-off)


    Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 12:20 am | Permalink
  11. Jorge Ochoa wrote:

    Gatsby desired the rich, popular, and eventful life he obtains. He believed it to be the epitome of the American dream and that it would bring him true satisfaction. Superficially, from the perspective of those who don’t know him well, Gatsby seems to live a perfect life. From a quick glance, similar to the way people look at the title of a book, Gatsby is great. But once one gets to know Gatsby, which few do, the negative aspects of his “great” life are revealed. Although the title seems like a poor description of Gatsby, the novel is full of purposeful contradiction, the title being yet another. I wouldn’t rename it, if I “HAD” to I would change the word great to some synonym like grand but that doesn’t sound right.


    Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 2:04 am | Permalink
  12. Emma S wrote:

    The Great Gatsby” is a very fitting title. The title presents an image of what the book will be about, but upon reading it you realize that the plot is actually quite different. This deception symbolizes Gatsby. He acts as though he has always been rich, when in reality he has made his fortune through illegal activities. Both the title and Gatsby teach the same lesson: don’t judge a book by its cover. Even though the reader eventually learns how truly un-great Gatsby is, the title still fits if you think of it as symbolism. I love the title but if I had to change it I would choose “Eckleberg’s Eyes.”


    Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 2:37 am | Permalink
  13. Robiño D. wrote:

    I believe the title that Fitzgerald selected has a ironic nature it itself. Although in the 1920s everyone believed that the American Dream was a wonderful reality, the author may have tried to portray the American Dream as “Unrealistic” or not possible. When Gatsby is killed and no one shows up to his funeral, Fitzgerald shows that the Amerkcan Dream may not be achievable. With the title of “the GREAT Gatsby”, I think the author is showing that simply achieving greatness isn’t always as radiant as it seems, referring to the. American Dream. If I were to rename the story, I would name it with something to do with social classes. Or,
    “The green light” symbolizing money,
    Social classes, and envy which are theam points of the story.


    Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 3:49 am | Permalink
  14. Jackson M wrote:

    Gatsby was not actually great. His funeral was pretty much empty so no one actually cared about him besides Nick and his dad. To be great you need people around you to love you, which Gatsby did not. If I could re-name the novel, then I would call it The Unloved Rich Guy.


    Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

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