How Did Gatsby Make His Money In The Book?

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, “The Great Gatsby,” Jay Gatsby is notoriously mysterious. One of the readers’ most common questions is: how did Gatsby make his money?

While we never get a definite answer in the book, several clues suggest he was involved in some shady business deals. In this blog post, we’ll examine some clues and try to piece together how Gatsby made his fortune.

The Great Gatsby Quotes With Page Numbers

A picture of the Gatsby's mansion from the Great Gatsby, with the text overlay: "How Did Gatsby Make his Money?"


How Did People Think Gatsby Made His Fortune?

“He’s a bootlegger,” said the young ladies, moving some￾where between his cocktails and his flowers. “One time he killed a man who had found out that he was nephew to Von Hindenburg and second cousin to the devil. ” Chapter 4, Page 40


“Well, they say he’s a nephew or a cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm’s. That’s where all his money comes from.” Chapter 2, Page 24

The Great Gatsby Quotes About Money


How did Gatsby say he got his money in Chapter 4

“My family all died and I came into a good deal of money.” Chapter 4, Page 42

Later Gatsby elaborated on how he made his fortune

“Yes.” His eyes went over it, every arched door and square tower. “It took me just three years to earn the money that bought it.” 

“I thought you inherited your money.” (Nick Carraway)

“I did, old sport,” he said automatically, “but I lost most of it in the big panic — the panic of the war.”

Chapter 5, Page 57

Nick Carraway Quotes From The Great Gatsby


How did Gatsby make his Money?

Gatsby made his money by participating in illegal activities such as selling alcohol over the counter at drugstores during Prohibition and trading in counterfeit stocks. His motivation for doing so was to win the affection of his beloved Daisy Fay, though his efforts ultimately proved to be in vain.

Daisy Buchanan Quotes With Page Numbers


How did Gatsby make his money quote

“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.”

Tom Buchanan, Chapter 7, Page 83

The Great Gatsby Characters List


How has Gatsby earned most of his money, and what does Tom say that startles Gatsby

“Don’t you call me ‘old sport’!” cried Tom. Gatsby said nothing. “Walter could have you up on the betting laws too, but Wolfsheim scared him into shutting his mouth.”

That unfamiliar yet recognizable look was back again in Gatsby’s face.

“That drug-store business was just small change,” continued Tom slowly, “but you’ve got something on now that Walte’s afraid to tell me about.”

“I glanced at Daisy, who was staring terrified between Gatsby and her husband, and at Jordan, who had begun to balance an invisible but absorbing object on the tip of her chin. Then I turned back to Gatsby — and was startled at his expression. He looked — and this is said in all contempt for the babbled slander of his garden — as if he had “killed a man.” For a moment the set of his face could be described in just that fantastic way.”

Chapter 7, Pages 83, 84

Tom Buchanan Quotes And Page Numbers


Why did Gatsby want to become rich?

Jay Gatsby wanted to become rich to win the love of Daisy Buchanan, whom he met when he was a young military officer in Louisville before leaving to fight in World War I in 1917. Gatsby had always wanted to be wealthy and saw it as the only status measure.

He had a taste of what could be achieved with money due to his experiences with Dan Cody, and he was determined to make it happen to get Daisy’s love.

Gatsby pursued wealth illegally by selling over-the-counter drugs, which allowed him to have all the nice objects he had in life, such as his car, house, and extravagant parties. He wanted to impress Daisy with his wealth, showing her he would spend it to win her heart.


How rich was Gatsby?

Jay Gatsby was a mysterious millionaire with a lavish lifestyle, but how rich was he? Evidence from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby suggests that he was not as wealthy as his extravagant lifestyle would have one belief.

Gatsby was from a poor family background and was introduced to the ways of the affluent when Dan Cody coached him. Although Cody left Gatsby $25,000, his mistress cheated him of his inheritance.

Gatsby earned his money from scratch and was considered one of the new money people of the time. He earned his money by bootlegging alcohol two years after the Volstead Act passed, but the low-margin business made it unlikely that Gatsby had amassed millions of dollars.

Bootleggers like Al Capone and George Remus, who were much more established than Gatsby, were said to have made $1 million yearly in 1924 and 1925. Therefore, it is likely that Gatsby was not as wealthy as his lifestyle suggested.



How did Gatsby get so rich?

Jay Gatsby’s immense wealth is a mystery. However, it is speculated that he made his fortune through illicit activities such as selling illegal alcohol and having connections with criminal organizations. Additionally, it is possible that he made his wealth through bribery, lawyers, and transportation costs.


Who was richer Gatsby or Tom?

Tom Buchanan was considered richer than Jay Gatsby, as he came from a family of old money and inherited a large sum of money that set him up for life. At the same time, Gatsby made his wealth on his own and was cheated out of his inheritance from Dan Cody.


Who helped Gatsby get rich?

Gatsby’s wealth was largely attributed to his partnership with a man, Meyer Wolfsheim, who was involved in illegal activities such as bootlegging and selling grain alcohol over the counter. They profited from these activities, and Gatsby accumulated a vast fortune.


Why did Gatsby try to become rich?

Jay Gatsby tried to become rich to exercise his wealth and achieve the American Dream, as well as to make himself good enough for Daisy and her parents so he could be with her. He also wanted to prove he was not like his mediocre parents and could make something of himself.

Quotes From The Great Gatsby About the American Dream


How much would Gatsby be worth today?

Based on the research conducted by the personal finance site, Jay Gatsby’s estimated net worth today would be $1 billion, as he was ranked #14 on the Forbes “Fictional 15” of 2010 list. According to the same research, a modern-day Gatsby would be in considerable debt for his extravagant lifestyle.


Who got Gatsby’s money when he died?

Gatsby’s parents or other family members would likely have received his money after his death, as there were no hints that Daisy Buchanan was set to inherit Gatsby’s fortune.

How Did Gatsby Die In the Book?


How much money did Gatsby inherit?

Jay Gatsby inherited $25,000 from Dan Cody, But Cody’s mistress later took it away. Gatsby was then determined to make a fortune of his own.

“And it was from Cody that he inherited money — a legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars. He didn’t get it. He never understood the legal device that was used against him, but what remained of the millions went intact to Ella Kaye. He was left with his singularly appropriate education; the vague contour of Jay Gatsby had filled out to the substantiality of a man.”

Chapter 6, Page 54

Who Dies In The Great Gatsby and How?


Did Daisy know Gatsby was poor?

Yes, Daisy did know that Gatsby was poor as she had met him before he joined the army and had a short relationship with him. Gatsby was fascinated by Daisy’s wealthy and luxurious lifestyle, which initially led her to believe he was of a similar social status.


How much would it cost to build Gatsby’s house?

According to researcher and artist Nickolay Lamm, it would cost around $30 million in today’s dollars. This estimate was based on the prices of high-class weddings in Long Island, where Gatsby’s mansion is located. The mansion alone could be more than twice the price of most current production model Ferraris and Lamborghinis.


How did Gatsby make his money Page number

Tom Buchanan’s quote about how Gatsby made his money is on page 83, chapter 7.




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