American Illusions in The Great Gatsby
The American dream. Every American has his or her own ideals and preferences, but all share more or less the same dream. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald explores what happens when this dream is taken too far. What is one to do when the dream begins to overshadow reality? What are the consequences when a successful man allows the dream to matter more than life itself? Fitzgerald tells all through the hopeless Gatsby, idealistic Nick, and ignorant Myrtle.
Mansions, cars, jewels, and extravagant parties- what more could a person want? Gatsby had it all, yet he was still empty inside, craving more. All the riches Gatsby has mean nothing without his great love, Daisy. Gatsby strived to become successful for the sole purpose of capturing Daisy's heart. However, Gatsby's dream is an unattainable and hopeless dream for he can never win her love. Daisy and Gatsby live only miles apart, but their relationship is eons apart, as Daisy is already attached. Gatsby is pursuing "a transcendent significance outside of society and beyond the notability of history" (Lynn 180). Gatsby is dreaming "the American dream" that anything is possible, but the tragic flaw within him is that he is living in the past and cannot see the destructive future that lies ahead. Gatsby says, "I'm going to fix everything just the way it was before,... She'll see," and he does not realize that he cannot make it the way it was before (Fitzgerald 114). When Gatsby does get the chance to prove himself to Daisy, it is already too late. According to Fitzgerald, "the whole caravansay had fallen in like a card house at the disapproval in her eyes," (Fitzgerald 114). Gatsby's downfall is in the fact that he is unable to determine the fine line that divides reality and illusion in his life. The green light at the end of Daisy's dock burns bright for Gatsby, but Gatsby does not realize that he cannot ever capture the light. He continues to dream...
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