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A psychoanalysis of Jay Gatsby. See video at
“The question that everybody is interested in is ‘who is this Gatsby fellow, who is the millionaire
playboy next door?’. Before there was “Keeping up with the Kardashians”, before there was “What
would Ryan Lochte do” (TV show named after swimming champion and superstar, note du
professeur) there’s the Great Gatsby and who is this Gatsby guy? And so we have a certain natural
attraction to wealth, power, youth, beauty, and so that’s what draws a lot of people next doors to the
lavish parties that Gatsby throws. But to really understand who Jay Gatsby is, I think it’s important to
think about two primary emotions, one being shame and the other being grief.
The shame part of Gatsby is that he’s a boy from a small town in North Dakota, he talks about, at
some point in the middle of the novel, and we learn that he is ashamed of his lower class upbringing,
his parents were sort of shiftless farm workers, not very successful and Gatsby is described as a selfmade man. From this shame he starts to create a personae, he changes his name, he leaves his
house for the army and creates a personae of himself molded against, or as a reaction against the
shame and it is important to, sort of, see the difference between the emotions of shame versus
1. The first time Nick sees Gatsby in the 1974 film…
2. Gatsby...but only from behind.
3. Gatsby with Nick and Tom at the restaurant. He's here and suddenly he's not here...
4. The man in the mirror...
This is a brief passage from the 1974 film, set during one of Gatsby’s parties, and corresponding to the image
Woman: Somebody told me…they thought he had killed a man once…
Second woman: I heard he was connected to the government, during the war, in a high way, as a spy, I heard.
Man: I heard he was in oil, from a man who knew all about him and grew up with him in Texas.
Third woman: I knew somebody who grew up with in Saint Paul! (in Minnesota, note of the teacher)
Fourth woman: He never really goes to his own parties, he just looks in to see who’s here, then he disappears.
Fifth woman: God knows where he is!
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