The American Dream
The American Dream is originally about attaining happiness, but by the 1920s, this dream has changed into this want for wealth by whatever means, thinking that money will bring happiness. Fitzgerald does not use the words “American Dream” in the novel, The Great Gatsby, but it is obvious that he shows the impossibility of happiness through the American Dream. Fitzgerald demonstrates through symbols the impracticality of achieving the American Dream.
The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock is an important symbol in the novel. To Jay Gatsby, the green light represents his dream, which is Daisy. To have her would be completing Gatsby’s American Dream. The first time the green light is seen in the novel is the first time Nick Carraway sees Gatsby,“…he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away…”(Fitzgerald 25). The green light is described as ‘minute and far away’ which makes it seem impossible to reach. This will end up being true for Gatsby. The green light is a symbol of society’s desire and the impossibility of grasping the American Dream.
Another important symbol in the novel is the billboard of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg. The eyes symbolize the loss of moral values in America’s people. The billboard was created to promote the business of an optometrist. The eyes symbolize the growing commercialism of America - life in America is all about making money, a lot like the wealth of Tom Buchanan. They believe a man’s success is measured by how much money he has, not on what kind of person he is morally. The billboard, like the values of America, is neglected “But his eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground” (Fitzgerald 28). The old values of America are completely absent from the East, God...
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