Throughout the entire novel, Gatsby is portrayed by Fitzgerald as a very elusive and mysterious character. Whether this is through the lack of information given to us about his past, or the gossip which the reader and Nick are exposed to at his parties, or even his associations with the mafia boss Wolfsheim who ‘fixed the World’s Series back in 1919’.
The predominant method through which Fitzgerald makes Gatsby a mysterious character is the way we rarely receive information about his younger years; however, when we do it is very disjointed from the text and it is difficult to understand the full story of Gatsby’s life. And when it does in fact arrive the way Nick constantly analyses the preceding information suggests to the reader that the information given to us must be ...view middle of the document...
This seems improbable and Nick evens tells the reader how he ‘with an effort managed to restrain his laughter’. This emphasises the mystery of Gatsby as although Nick was told this face-to-face, the manner of Gatsby makes Nick cautious to believe him. Furthermore, this mystery of Gatsby is shown at his parties at his extravagant ‘Hôtel de Ville’ as the guests enjoy ‘gossiping’ about their host, Gatsby. This attitude of disrespect was indicative of the Jazz Age as a result of the emergence of the flappers, who enjoyed behaving in unconventional ways and dressing unlike their relatives who had grown up in the Victorian era, and prohibition which resulted in the illegal activities of many. Although the gossip about Gatsby Nick tells us of is very improbable it adds to the mystery of Gatsby because of the number of contrasting rumours about such as him having ‘killed a man’ and was the ‘nephew of Von Hindenburg’ who had been the head of the submarine operations which had led to the Americans entering the war.
In addition to the mystery created by the lack of information, Fitzgerald furthers the sense of mystery surrounding jay Gatsby through the attitude of Nick towards him. The most important example of this is in chapter one in which Nick describes Gatsby as ‘everything for which I have an unaffected scorn’. As this is the first thing we hear from Nick about Gatsby, we expect, as the reader, to be confronted by a very negative image of Gatsby. However, the change of attitude towards Gatsby from Nick from scorn to praise (there was ‘something gorgeous about him’), creates doubt in the mind of the reader as to what to think of Gatsby’s character as he is always being evaluated and re-evaluated by Nick throughout the novel; thus the reader is unable to reach a judgment of Gatsby’s character.