Significance of Title “The Great Gatsby” – Major English Class 12

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The Great GatsbyMajor English (Optional) Class 12
Significance of the Title “The Great Gatsby”
For: Class 12

Though Fitzgerald had thought of several other titles for this novel such as Trimalchio, The High-Bouncing Lover, On the Road to West Egg , Gold-Hatted Gatsby etc, the present title “The Great Gatsby” is the most suitable because it gives the total impression of Gatsby’s personality. This title was formulated with the intention of heightening characterization through the use of irony.

Gatsby can more or less be identified with Tamburlaine , the main character of “Tamburlaine, the Great” by Christopher Marlowe. Gatsby is great in the sense that he is not defeated by circumstances. He has high passion and lust for love. Everything is correct in love and war. So he does everything to win the heart of his beloved. He earns wealth for the sole purpose of love. He is untroubled by doubt. Allegorically considered, all the other characters are reason, while Gatsby is imagination, innocence and dream. Besides all his illusion and bootlegging, he has a great positive quality – his faith in life’s possibility and loyalty to Daisy. He is self-made and self-invented man who desires for the Earthly Paradise in West Egg.

He is like the Romantic poets desiring the unattainable. His extraordinary quality of hope, idealistic dream and yearning for the future make him a truly romantic figure. He is Saint of Love because he dies for love. While all the other characters exchange love for sex, he seeks love for love’s sake. We find him great if we look at him by contrasting him with other shallow characters like Tom, Myrtle Wilson, Jordan, George and Daisy, in the backdrop of corrupt American world of 1920s.

In spite of all Gatsby’s weakness and errors, he is still the only sympathetic character apart from Nick. He died with devotion for his idealism. Other characters believe in nothing and care about nothing other than their own pleasures. Obviously, Jay Gatsby, with the gift of hope, placed in comparison to the aimlessness of Tom and Daisy, reaches heroic nobility.

Important Questions:

  • Discuss the significance of the title “The Great Gatsby”
  • Comment on the suitability of the title of “The Great Gatsby”.
  • What is great about the Great Gatsby?
  • Do you agree with Fitzgerald’s verdict on “The Great Gatsby” as a title?
  • Justify the title “The Great Gatsby”.

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