In this novel, the author has specifically chosen the title of the book to intentionally intensify the characterization by the use of irony. The use of such a title created an irony in Gatsby’s characters to contrast between how they actually appear from the outside and who they are in real. The title of the novel depicts that the greatness was attained through illegal means; when one finds the truth behind the greatness, the adoration crumbles.
The whole story is seen through the eyes of Nick Caraway, who is considered to be the narrator. Therefore, his perceptions and thoughts greatly contribute to the flow, shape, and themes of the story. He often served as a close confidant to those with troubling secrets. His experience in the World War I makes him develop a character geared towards tolerant reservation of judgment, a generous man who treats all his guests as first class even though he does not know them.
The title character, Gatsby, is seen as a wealthy man with expensive cars. He is a fabulously rich young man who lives in a gothic mansion. He is popularly known for his spendthrift character as a person who lavishes in parties every Saturday. Nick considers him as a dishonest flawed man whose abnormal optimistic power makes him great by transforming his dreams to reality. This is observed when he wins Daisy, Nick’s cousin, through unearned means as he is always willing to do anything for social gain.
Daisy, Nick’s cousin, falls in love with Gatsby; being a young woman, she was courted by many officers before the war, but she only fell for Gatsby and promised to wait for him. Nonetheless, she develops a deep need to be loved, and when a wealthy young man, Tom Buchanan, asked for her hand in marriage, she decided not to wait for Gatsby any longer. She is cynical and somewhat sardonic and behaves superficially to cover her pain because of her husband’s infidelity.
Tom Buchanan is a wealthy husband, who is a hypocritical and arrogant bully. He has a powerfully built stature; his social attitudes are laced with sexist and racist elements. He never reciprocates to live to the moral standards that he demands from others. This is seen when he fails to observe the morals effects of his extramarital affairs with Myrtle, but points a finger at Daisy and Gatsby, forcing an outrageous confrontation.
Jordan Baker, a golfer, is a woman, a friend to Daisy, who in the course of the story becomes romantically involved with Nick. She is a representation of the ‘new generation women’ of the 1920’s, who are cynical and self-centered. She was found to have cheated in order to win her first tournament in the golf competition, and she continues to bend the truth.
Myrtle Wilson is a lover to Tom. She possesses a fierce liveliness and a desperate view on how to improve her current situation. But it is so unfortunate for her that she lands on Tom as her choice, who treats her as an object to meet his desires. The last character is George Wilson; the husband to Myrtle and a desperate owner of a run-down garage along the ashes valley. He loves and idealizes his wife, but he is devastated by her affairs with Tom. He is actually in grief when she is killed. He can only be compared to Gatsby for the reason that they are both dreamers and are tumbled down by their unrequited love for women who walk away with Tom.
Therefore, in reference to the lost generation of the emptiness of American values, the American history was disillusioned of the prosperity of the roaring twenties. There are quite a number of things that appear ironical in the story. Gatsby spends too much time and efforts pursuing that are not worth it. The cars can symbolize the hope of American dream, but it is ironic that it ultimately leads to his death. The view based on money getting a person’s happiness is ironical as well, as Gatsby himself is rich yet not happy. Another American dream states that whatever race or class you come from, you have equal opportunity for success and happiness; however, there is a great dislike between the West Egg and East Egg.