The Great Gatsby – Significance of Title Essay
The Great Gatsby – Significance of Title
The meaning of the word “great” is ambiguous before reading the novel The Great Gatsby. It can imply that Gatsby is a superb individual, or it can mean great in the sense of a misfortune. It is only after reading the novel that the reader is able to perceive that the novel’s title is ironic and that many of the themes of the story help develop this “great” character of Gatsby.
Irony is the key to understanding F. Scott Fitzgerald’s title, The Great Gatsby. Many of the themes of this novel seem to mock Jay Gatsby’s “greatness.” Some of these themes can even be taken on a more social level to include society in general and imply their prominence as well. Gatsby symbolizes the state of idealism that had been a common ideal of society when the novel had been published. His ideal life centered on money, greed, and carelessness that characterize living the ideally reckless life. This theme implies two different meanings to the title of the novel. The first is an implication that the social values of the times were terrible, thus bringing out the greatness of the tragedy.
The second is more of a sarcastic connotation. Fitzgerald may have been trying to show the reader just how great the great Gatsby was through the use of irony. For example, it is quite ironic that a person with so much wealth and fame would continue to partake in the illegal bootlegging and give numerous parties in search of a married woman when there are hundreds of women dying to see him. Thus, the ironic meaning of the novel’s title can be derived through the analysis of the true greatness of Gatsby: a moral failure who is only a success in the eyes of other downfallen individuals of society.
In conclusion, meaning of the title, The Great Gatsby, is fully derived after reading and understanding themes brought forward in the story. After this analysis of the themes is performed, the connotation of the novel’s title can be regarded as either a sarcastic presentation of irony, or a representation of the downfall of Gatsby, that resulted from his emphasis on materialism and wealth.