The Great Gatsby

Character Analyses

Jay Gatsby (James Gatz): He is a charming, romantic, enigmatic millionaire who created a persona for himself and devoted his entire life to the fulfillment of this personality. He pursues the American Dream with reckless abandon, rising from a poor, obscure upbringing to become fabulously rich, yet still cannot escape the stigma of being one of the 'new rich.' He becomes obsessed with Daisy Buchanan and cannot accept the limitations of her love. Although some of his dealings are questionable, Gatsby is essentially a noble person and inherently good.

Nick Carraway: Although not the central figure of the novel, Carraway serves as the narrator. He is twenty-nine at the book's beginning, and a fair figure. He is not judgmental, which serves his role as narrator for he becomes both an active participator as well as a passive reporter of the book's events. However, Nick develops throughout the book and begins to judge the situation in which he is involved and the people around him.

Daisy Buchanan: She is the beautiful, delicate and innocent object of Gatsby's affections, although she suffers as the wife of the unfaithful Tom Buchanan. Daisy is a reckless person who will act impetuously without accepting the consequences of her actions. She is in love with Gatsby, yet she is more concerned with social order than in her own and Gatsby's happiness. She is perhaps too naive to realize the irreparable damage which she causes.

Tom Buchanan: He is the arrogant, brutish husband of Daisy who treats her miserably while he keeps a mistress. However, Tom cannot accept that Daisy may be capable of similar behavior. He clings to the social order and becomes frightened at any attempt to change the levels of stratification which keep him on the top social tier. He is intimidated by any threat to the status quo, whether it be the newly rich Gatsby or the 'rise of the colored empires.'

Jordan Baker: She is Daisy's friend and later a romantic attachment for Nick. Jordan is incurably dishonest and playfully immoral-- a golf champion who routinely cheats. Jordan is a reckless person yet justifies her carelessness by relying on the stability of others such as Nick. However, she is not as naive as Daisy and more attuned to reality.

Myrtle Wilson: She is Tom's mistress, a rather superficial woman who hates her husband for not living up to her expectations of him as a 'gentleman.' She is an incredibly vital and passionate woman who lives for the moment. Myrtle dies when she is hit by Gatsby's car.

George Wilson: He is a foolish auto mechanic who cannot see that his wife is unfaithful to him, despite obvious signs. He invests his entire life into his wife, although she does not appreciate him. In his sadness over his wife's death he kills both Gatsby and himself.

Meyer Wolfsheim: He is a gambler, a denizen of Broadway based on the factual person Arnold Rothstein. Wolfsheim is an exuberant, talkative old man who reminisces about the murder of Rosy Rosenthal and even wears human molars as cufflinks.

Henry C. Gatz: The elderly father of Gatsby who comes to West Egg to attend his son's funeral. He elucidates the ambitions of his son.

Mr. Ewing Klipspringer: He was "the boarder" at Gatsby's, a man who attended one of his parties and never left.

Mr. Dan Cody: He was a drunken millionaire who was Gatsby's mentor; he took him aboard his yacht as his personal servant until he suddenly died.

Michaelis: Young Greek man who consoles Wilson after Myrtle's death, attempting to turn him to religion while Wilson only thinks of revenge.

Chester McKee: an effeminate man in the 'artistic game,' a photographer, who attends Myrtle's party.

Lucille McKee: the large wife of Chester McKee who speaks about almost marrying the wrong person.

"Owl Eyes": He gets into a car accident at Gatsby's party and is one of the few people to attend his funeral

Catherine: She is Myrtle's sister.