Dan Cody is a major influence in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” on Jay Gatsby’s life. When Gatsby was young, he encountered Cody, who became a mentor and father figure to him. Cody was a wealthy man who made his fortune in mining and owned a yacht that Gatsby worked on for a few years. Cody symbolizes everything Gatsby wants to be: affluent, successful, and respected. Gatsby learns from Cody about the customs of the wealthy, such as how to dress and act, which helps him later when he attempts to fit in with the upper class. Gatsby’s conversation with Nick about his past reveals the importance of Cody in his life. Gatsby states, “I suppose he’d had the name ready for a long time, even then. His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself” (Ch. 6). This quote shows that Gatsby’s vision of himself as a prosperous, wealthy man was not just a fantasy but a plan he put into action after meeting Cody. In a way, Cody helped create the character of Jay Gatsby that everyone knows. Ultimately, Dan Cody’s significance in Gatsby’s life is more than just a mentor or a wealthy man Gatsby worked for. Cody stands for the American Dream and is a symbol of Gatsby’s ambition to become wealthy and respected. Without Cody, Gatsby may not have become the man he was, and his fixation with wealth and status may not have taken over him as much as it did.
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