The Grand Delusion

The Great Gatsby’s Material World

The Great Gatsby, F.  Scott Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age masterpiece, is an indictment of materialism that many have mistaken for a love story. As the protagonist is developed, very different personas emerge. One version is James Gatz, a poor Lutheran farm boy from North Dakota who aspires to self-improvement but drops out of St. Olaf College because he finds working as a janitor to pay his way demeaning. Cheated of an inheritance, he moves east, but before going off to war, he falls in love with Daisy Fay, a Louisville socialite.

Another take is Jay Gatsby, a mysterious resident of...


is a retired secondary teacher of English and philosophy. For forty years he challenged students to dive deep into the classics of the Western canon, to think and write analytically, and to find the cultural constants reflected throughout that literature, art, and thought.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #64, Spring 2023 Copyright © 2024 Salvo |


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