As the old saying goes, “A man’s home is his castle,” meaning that a man can take refuge within his house, safe from the outside world. This is not so in The Great Gatsby. In the novel, instead of sheltering their inhabitants, houses reflect the inhabitants’ personalities. Jay Gatsby and his house are both ostentatious, hospitable, and stuck in the past. Similarly, Daisy Buchanan is cheery, with inner depression, as is her house. Finally, both George Wilson and his house are dreary and uninteresting. Houses in The Great Gatsby serve to embody the characteristics of their occupants.
At the beginning of the novel, Jay Gatsby’s house is opulent and extravagant. According to Nick, it is “a colossal affair by any standard.” It has a “tower” and a “marble swimming pool,” and it spans an entire “forty acres” of property (5). While some regular houses might have swimming pools, marble is an overtly expensive material to use. Moreover, his “towers” exhibit wealth, and forty acres of land would be far more than enough for the single person who owns the property.
The flamboyance of Gatsby’s house mirrors his desire to impress. From the moment Nick meets Gatsby, Gatsby starts to show off. He offers to give Nick a ride in his new “hydroplane” (47). Furthermore, the house’s opulence matches what society views as wealth, just as Gatsby adjusts his own thinking to the opinion of an outside source. When Gatsby shows Nick and Daisy around his house, he “revalued everything” based on “the