The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is about the American Dream
and the downfall of those who attempt to capture its illusionary goals. This is a common
theme central to many novels. This dream has varying significances for different people
but in The Great Gatsby, for Jay, the dream is through wealth and power. To get this
happiness Jay must reach into the past and relive an old dream. In order to do this he
needed wealth and power.
Jay Gatsby, the central figure of the story, is a character who longs for the past.
Surprisingly he devotes most of his adult life trying to recapture it and, finally, dies in its
pursuit. In the past, Jay had a love affair with the beautiful and seemingly innocent Daisy.
Knowing he could not marry her because of the difference in their social status, he leaves
her to gather his wealth to reach her economic and social standards. Once he acquires this
wealth, he moves near to Daisy, "Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just
across the bay (83)," and throws extravagant parties, hoping by chance she might show up
at one of them. He himself, does not attend his parties but watches them from a distance.
When his hopes don't show true he asks around casually if anyone knows her. Soon he
meets Nick Carraway, a cousin of Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting, Gatsby "...wants
to know...if [Nick will] invite Daisy to [Nicks]house some afternoon and then let [Gatsby]
come over (83)." Gatsby's personal dream symbolizes the larger American Dream where
everybody has the opportunity to get what they want.
Later, as we see in the Plaza Hotel, Jay still believes that Daisy loves him. He is
convinced of this as is shown when he takes the blame for Myrtle's death. Nick asks if
"...Daisy [was] driving... " and Gatsby replies by saying "Yes...but of course I'll say I was."
(151) He also watches and protects...