Jay Gatsby was a very mysterious man, with a very mysterious past. He is young, about 27 or 28, with tan skin, drawn tight over his face, short groomed hair, which looks like it is cut every day, and very handsome. The narrator describes early in the story that Gatsby lives in a gigantic, gothic mansion in the West Egg, on Long Island. Also, he lives directly on the bay. .
In the beginning chapters of the story, outside impressions of Gatsby were very vague and general. Nobody really knew anything about him. He would throw extremely extravagant parties, that at first, he had really no reason to organize. Most people who attended his parties had never even met him or seen him, yet still came and drank his liquor. The reason most people didn't know him, was that he usually just stood and observed his guests as they enjoyed themselves. The only notion people had about him is that he most likely became so wealthy through bootlegging. .
As the story progresses, it is revealed that Gatsby is not the man that people thought of him. He finally opened up to Nick, telling him some truths and some lies. He tells Nick that he is an Oxford graduate and was originally from San Francisco, California. He also tells him that he is into bonds, and owns a number of drugstores. He also comes to know that Nick's cousin is Daisy Buchanan. After learning of this, he begs Nick to arrange a union, and he agrees.
This is a turning point in Gatsby's personality in this stage of the novel. Gatsby turns from quiet and reserved, to needy and desperate Gatsby's longing to see Daisy started in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was originally from, not San Fancisco. The two sparked and fell in love with each other. But soon, Gatsby was shipped off to fight in World War I, leaving Daisy all alone. .
When he returned from the war, he wanted to see Daisy, but not until he was rich and successful, which is what he knew daisy wanted.