I've read the Great Gatsby twice -- once in high school, and once last year when John Green encouraged Nerdfighters to join in reading it. The first time, I liked it a little. The second time, I liked it a lot. And it never occurred to me to wonder about whether Gatsby was actually white, until I read this post on Tumblr, by someone whose url is pollums:
The Great Gatsby is a story of a man that makes his fortune bootlegging and throws countless magnificent parties all in hopes of attracting the attention of his old flame Daisy.
But it’s really a story about insurmountable class barriers. Daisy will never be with Gatsby, no matter how much she claims to love him. No matter how hard Gatsby tries, he will always be stuck on West Egg, only able to admire the ‘green light’ of upper class american romanticism from afar.
Not only was the insurmountable barrier between him and Daisy one of class and upbringing, but also one of race.
What we take for granted as Gatsby’s whiteness is actually a omission of detail rather than a specific indicator that he was white.
Obviously, this isn't the case in the lastest Gatsby movie, that came out last week (which, by the way, I'm dying to see.) But I'm definitely going to be looking for it in my next read-through of the book.
Note: This post was originally titled "Was Gatsby black?", then I found out that the article that the post I'm blogging about referenced also had that title.