"Jay Gatsby- is an invention - part of an illusion a farmer's boy dreamed up in his youth. The elegant, high-society character Gatsby tries to become is vastly different from who he really is - a nave, restless man absorbed in a surreal fantasy. Although Gatsby thinks he has fulfilled the expectations of the character he created, in truth his fundamental nature does not change; yet he cannot accept this. Gatsby denies who he really is and never learns to know or understand his own self.
The Jay Gatsby we are presented with in the beginning of the novel is elusive: an elegant, extremely wealthy young man who holds highly extravagant parties. But, as we learn later, it took a great deal of work to formulate this interesting man. James Gatz learns to shape his character at an early stage in order to finally become his high-society antithesis. In a daily schedule he wrote when he was young, he includes such spaces in his day to "practice elocution, poise and how to attain it- as well as general resolves like, "read one improving book or magazine per week.""(p.164). Gatsby's speech is painstakingly wrought to be highly elegant and representative of the upper class. Nick remarks the first time he meets Gatsby, " I'd got a strong impression that he was picking his words with care.""(p. 49). James Gatz needed to have no aspect of his past interfere with his new identity, so he creates a suitable background for himself. He gives Nick a taste of this "revised- history in his car while driving him to lunch, telling Nick that he was educated at Oxford and inherited his money from his wealthy family, and other untruths that shaped for him a romantic, cinematic past. .
Lastly, Gatsby sees to it that he acquires the defining element separating the lower and upper classes: money, and gross amounts of it. Gatsby gets involved in some shady business that ultimately makes him very wealthy in a short period of time.