Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on Literature  No.3 October, 2015                 Pp. 72-85

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 Demythologizing the Sacred: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby as a Misnomer  

Sayed Mohammed Youssef
Department of English Language and Literature,
College of Languages and Translation,
Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The first moment the reader catches sight of the cover of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, the thing that most immediately strikes him is the ‘greatness’ of the eponymous character which is taken for granted as early as the very title given to it. Nevertheless, as the book unfolds, the reader comes to realize the irony that lies behind this title, thereby conjuring up the old saying “all that glitters is not gold “. Surprisingly enough, the title turns out to be no more than a mere misnomer ironically referring to a racketeer whose ill-gotten money makes of him a prominent person. The present article attempts to demythologize the ideals, if it is in anyway meaningful to call them so, of Gatsby who is considered to be great and venerable. In demythologizing Gatsby, the article challenges such values as romanticism, the American Dream and the new American elite, if not modern Western society values, held by him. This is done through dismantling the mythical and mysterious elements from Gatsby’s character, thereby dealing with him as an ordinary, if not ‘ungreat’, man.
Key Words: Demythologization, loose morality, misnomer, quixoticness, the American Dream


Sayed Mohammed Youssef Ahmed, PhD is currently an assistant professor of English
literature at Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Riyadh, KSA. He has been
teaching modernist and postmodernist fiction for both undergraduate and postgraduate students
at the Department of English Language and Literature, College of Languages and Translation.
His research interests include modernist and postmodernist fiction.