In Chapter 6 of The Great Gatsby, readers learn about Jay Gatsby’s past. He was born James Gatz on a North Dakota farm and attended St. Olaf in Minnesota, but dropped out after two weeks due to the demeaning janitorial work he had to do to pay tuition. He then spent the summer on Lake Superior fishing for salmon and digging for clams. One day, he encountered Dan Cody’s yacht, the TUOLOMEE, which was named after a region in California where many prospectors made their fortunes during the Gold Rush. Gatsby was awestruck by the yacht and exclaimed that it “represented all the beauty and glamour in the world”. This moment was the start of his career, and he changed his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby. He then traveled with Cody to the Barbary Coast and the West Indies, and fell in love with the luxury and glamour. Gatsby’s renaming of himself symbolizes his ambition to leave his lower-class identity behind and become the wealthy man he dreams of being.
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