Today’s world is full of copycats and stereotypes of people who do not know how to really be themselves. It is rare that a true individual comes along. Although many may try, it is hard to differentiate oneself from the rest of the world. Gatsby, the main character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, has a peculiar way of drawing himself away from the usual stereotypical wealthy man. During one chapter of the book, Gatsby was dressed in a bright pink suit. This uniqueness, such as the pink suit, reflects Gatsby’s need for attention from his love, Daisy; his desire to show power and wealth and his poor upbringing. Gatsby has a unique way of dressing and presenting himself that portrays his odd placement in this wealthy and prestigious class.
One reason why Gatsby dressed and acted so differently from everyone, was, in fact, to make himself stand out for his love, Daisy. Gatsby had been in love with, and searching for Daisy for almost five years. “…he’s read a Chicago paper for years just on the chance of catching a glimpse of Daisy’s name” (84). It is possible that he dressed so lavishly and extremely to make her notice him. He finally found Daisy, but he did not want to simply run out and marry her. Gatsby wanted to draw her to him, and he wanted her to see his wealth and substance. He even threw remarkably extravagant parties and ” . . . he half-expected her to wander into one of [them], some night . . . but she never did” (84).
He hoped that his extreme attire would help him to stand out of the crowd and attract Daisy. Gatsby succeeded in attracting Daisy because just the mere sight of his colorful shirts in his closet brought Daisy to tears. “…the soft rich heap mounted higher–shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple green and lavender and faint orange with monograms of Indian blue . . . Suddenly . . . Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily . . . ‘It makes me said because I’ve never seen such-such beautiful shirts before'” (98). He knew that Daisy would be attracted to a man who dressed and acted as an individual, not as a specific class.
Gatsby also knew that Daisy would not just notice any man, but she would notice a man with power and money. When people dress and own things so outrageous, it is most likely to show their wealth and power. Others know that these people have money because they buy the most heinous clothing and unreasonable items, and when people have a great deal of money, they automatically have a great deal of power. Those with the most outlandish clothing and possessions portray power and authority. Gatsby was aware that Daisy would surely fall for the extravagant and powerful “gold-hatted lover” over the regular, ho-hum guy any day. He attracted her with his huge car (“cream colored” and “monstrous”) and his rather large house. “[It] was a colossal affair by any standard . . . with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden. It was Gatsby’s mansion” (9). Gatsby showed his power by not abiding to the wealthy “dress code” and making himself appear different from everyone else.
Also supporting Gatsby’s reason for being so different, is the fact that Gatsby does not know the proper way to uphold the prestige of being wealthy because of less than proper life as a child and young man. His real parents were by no means wealthy. “[They] were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people-his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all” (104). Gatsby was not raised in a distinguished or notable household; therefore, he never really knew how to act properly. Even after his childhood, he was not “trained” to be well-mannered and in his late teens he lived quite a plain life. For example, ” . . . he had beaten his way along the south shore of Lake Superior as a clam digger and a salmon fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed” (104).
When Gatsby became rich all of the sudden, he obviously had to change the way he acted and dressed. He never conformed to the all-too-familiar wealthy dress code. Not only were his nonconformist ways seen in his clothing, but also in other items he owned, such as his car. “Everybody had seen [Gatsby’s car]. It was a rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous length . . . ” (68). Gatsby’s outrageous car and house portray that because of the fact that he was not brought up wealthy, when he became so, he desired to have the best and biggest of everything. He never knew the “right” way to dress and act, and this ignorance caused many of his lavish clothing and items. Gatsby went over the top when he became wealthy, because of his plain and non-extravagant environment as a child and young adult.
Gatsby was the opposite of a normal wealthy man of the 1920’s. He dressed in bright colors and owned outrageous possessions. Gatsby acted this way to make his love, Daisy, notice him; to show his power and wealth; and simply because he was never taught the basic mannerisms of being rich. Gatsby did not need or want to conform his ways of dressing and living with those of his high upper class. He was an individual and went against the flow, as plainly seen with his crazy pink suit. He attracted his love, and showed his power by not doing what was said to be normal and typical for his upper class position.