Gatsby Get Rich

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald incorporates a rich protagonist that appears to have a vast measure of cash for parties. On top of that, he spends this money on lavish parties every weekend. This is one of the reasons why most people ask the question: How did Gatsby get rich? Indeed, the exemplary book clarifies all and is worth giving a read. You would want to see Jay Gatsby prevail as he continued looking for the American Dream.

The book’s events take place in the 1920s in a wealthy neighborhood, where people rush to a pricey chateau without anyone appearing to be aware of the host. As we read the story, the narrator, Nick Carraway, reveals everything to us.

Continue reading this article to find out more about Jay Gatsby and his unimaginable wealth.

What City Did Gatsby Live In?

James Gatz was born to a low-income ranching family sometime around 1890 in rural North Dakota. He attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota but left early in his first semester because he hated working odd jobs as a caretaker to support himself.

After quitting school, he traveled to Lake Superior in the summer of 1907, where he met Dan Cody, a prominent figure in the copper industry, in Little Girl Bay. Cody transformed into Gatz’s guide and invited him to join him on his ten-year yacht voyage. Gatz changed his name to Jay Gatsby at the age of seventeen, and over the next five years, he imitated the lifestyle and mannerisms of the wealthy.

Gatsby participated in World War 1 as well, rising through the ranks to become a Major in the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment of the United States and receiving a bravery medal for his cooperation in the Marne and the Argonne. He spent some time in the United Kingdom after the battle, where he attended Trinity College, Oxford, as he also admits to Nick Carraway years later. “For that reason, I can’t really think of myself as an Oxford man.”

Gatsby purchased a home in the fictional West Egg (a reference to Great Neck or perhaps Kings Point) of Long Island using his enormous salary. Old-cash East Egg (a reference to Sands Point) is across the bay from West Egg, the home of Daisy, Tom, and their three-year-old daughter Pammy. Gatsby frequently hosts lavish parties at his West Egg home that are open to everyone to entice Daisy to attend.

How Did Gatsby Get Rich?

As was already mentioned, Gatsby hosts lavish parties that leave an impression on everyone who attends. However, nobody knows how or from where this man got his money or where he came from. The fact that Gatsby never discusses how he made his money, however, makes his wealth even more evasive and suspicious. When someone questioned him about his wealth at one point in the tale, he replied simply that it was his business. However, the book implies that Gatsby obtained his wealth through unethical means.

In 1917, while undergoing training to join the infantry in World War I, 27-year-old Gatsby met and fell in love with debutante Daisy Fay, who was all that Gatsby was not: wealthy, attractive, and well-educated in social norms. While he was there, Daisy wrote him a letter informing him that she had married wealthy Tom Buchanan. At that point, Gatsby decided to devote his life to becoming the kind of wealthy, tall man who would attract Daisy.

Although Gatsby himself never explicitly states how he became wealthy, readers and critics assume that his money comes from illicit or sinister activities, posing as either a gambler or a German covert agent. We learn that Gatsby was involved in criminal activity from his friendship with Meyer Wolfsheim, the fictional character who fixed the 1919 World Series.

During Tom and Gatsby’s argument in Chapter 7, Tom raises Gatsby’s business with Wolfsheim, saying he heard that they “sold grain alcohol over the counter” at drug stores in New York or Chicago. Gatsby reacts to the allegation with “What about it?”, implying that Tom is correct and that Gatsby probably made most of his cash through smuggling liquor which as we know was illegal due to the prohibition of liquor during the time this book was written. Moreover, Gatsby likewise earned a great deal of his cash from counterfeit stocks. All the more solidly, Daisy discloses to Tom that Gatsby possessed a chain of drug stores. It was probably here that Gatsby dispersed liquor.

How Did Gatsby Make His Money Quotes?

Following are a few important quotes from the text that might give the readers a hint as to how Gatsby got rich:

  • “There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whispering and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his motorboats slid the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On weekends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains.”
  • “I found out what your ‘drug stores’ were.” He turned to us and spoke rapidly. “He and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong.”
  • “See!” he cried triumphantly. “It’s a bonafide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella’s a regular Belasco. It’s a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop, too – didn’t cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?”

Did Gatsby Inherit His Money?

We learn more about Gatsby’s past in the novel’s sixth chapter. James Gatz was his birth name, as was previously mentioned. James Gatsby, a college dropout, saved the life of a wealthy man named Dan Cody. Dan Cody recognized and appreciated the deed and took James Gatz under his wing.

Dan Cody left $25,000 for Gatsby in his will after he passed away. But after Cody passed away, his mistress defrauded Gatsby of the inheritance. Then, as he searched for Daisy, Gatsby vowed to become a prosperous man once more.

Some people wonder if Gatsby received his wealth from an inheritance. No, he didn’t, is the answer. The term “new money” refers to Jay Gatsby, a young man in the 1920s.


In the story, F. Scott Fitzgerald, through Nick Carraway, clarifies that James Gatz turned into a new individual and made his wealth through organized crime. During the 1920s, numerous individuals were known to smuggle, sell, and disseminate huge amounts of liquor. This turned into a lifestyle for some individuals including the protagonist of this exemplary novel.

Since Prohibition finished in the middle of the 1930s, this style of cash-making can not be imitated today. (Not that you should need to, because it was illegal and risky).

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