Jay Gatsby: ISFJ

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Jay Gatsby ISFJ | The Great Gatsby MBTI

Dominant Si: Gatsby is obsessed with and living in the past. Everything he does is either aimed toward bringing back the good things in his past or from eliminating the bad. Daisy is a good memory from his past, and so he works hard to recreate the experiences he had with her during the war. “Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can.” His parents and penniless childhood is a bad memory that he not only rejects, but does everything to get away from. He’s changed his name, and isn’t guilty doing illegal jobs in order to avoid being poor. Gatsby’s approach to making money is to follow after those in whom he sees direct proof of success (Wolfsheim). He isn’t well connected to the big picture, but rather focuses his intent on the physical concrete aspects of life (nothing is abstract in Gatsby’s world). Gatsby doesn’t care for parties –he throws them solely in hopes that Daisy might chance upon him one night. As soon as he’s won her over, the parties cease, he hires all new staff and no one sees him for weeks.

Jay Gatsby ISFJ | The Great Gatsby MBTI

Auxiliary Fe: Although Gatsby is able to logically devise plans to win Daisy back, all of his decisions are purely emotional. He’s generally polite, and does everything he can to make others feel comfortable and welcome. He needs to talk about his feelings, and Nick quickly becomes his sole confidant. Gatsby is sometimes a bit too careful about making sure people are comfortable. He’s always concerned that he’s intruding on other people by asking them favors and always offers compensation. He doesn’t fully trust himself to make good choices and needs affirmation in regard to the moral permissibility of  his actions (i.e. awkward insistence on our notorious third wheel).

Jay Gatsby ISFJ | The Great Gatsby MBTI

Tertiary Ti: Gatsby wants everything to run smoothly and efficiently, and is extremely detail oriented. He pays close (OCD) attention to the up keeping of his house, and even to Nick’s house. His false backstory is so full of perfection and detail that it is literally too good to be true –and this is where he is found out. He doesn’t feel the need to outwardly express his detailed plans and backstage schemes, so when he tries to come up with backstory justification for his behavior, he goes overboard.

Jay Gatsby ISFJ | The Great Gatsby MBTI

Inferior Ne: Gatsby is a visionary –we all know it. He has a too-good-to-be-true vision of what he wants his life to be and has a million ideas for how to get there. As Nick notes, Gatsby is the single most positive person he has ever known, and never questions whether or not his plans will actually succeed. In a sense, his optimism is rather blinding.

Some people have typed Gatsby as an extravert, but…Gatsby is clearly not the partier that these people think he is. Consider how mysterious and unknown he is –none of his guests know him because he doesn’t party with them much. His parties exist only for the minuscule chance that Daisy will walk in one day.


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