The Great Gatsby: The Illusionary American Dream

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 4 (540 words) Published: October 8, 1999
A Simple Dream

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...
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