Great Gatsby

PAGES  3
WORDS  802

Great Gatsby


Gatsby's Pursuit of the American Dream The Great Gatsby, a novel by Scott Fitzgerald, is about the American Dream, and the downfall of those who attempt to reach its illusionary goals. The attempt to capture the American Dream is central to many novels. This dream is different for different people; but, in The Great Gatsby, for Jay, the dream is that through wealth and power, one can acquire happiness. To get this happiness James must reach into the past and relive an old dream; and, in order to do this, he must have wealth and power. The American Dream had always been based on the idea that each person no matter who he or she is can become successful in life by his or her hard work. The dream also embodied the idea of a self-sufficient man, an entrepreneur making it successful for himself. The Great Gatsby is about what happened to the American Dream in the 1920s, a time period when the dream had been corrupted by the avaricious pursuit of wealth. The pursuit of the American Dream is the sublime motivation for accomplishing one's goals and producing achievements, however when tainted with wealth the dream becomes devoid and hollow. Jay Gatsby, the central figure of the story, is one 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, Gatsby had a love affair with the affluent Daisy. Knowing he could not marry her because of the difference in their social status, he leaves her to amass wealth to reach her economic standards. Once he acquires wealth, he moves near to Daisy, "Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay (p83)," 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 this dream does not happen, he asks around casually if anyone knows her. Soon, he meets Nick Carraway, a cousin of Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting, "He wants to knowif you'll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over (p83)." Gatsby's personal dream symbolizes the larger American Dream where all have the opportunity to get what they want. Later, as we see in the Plaza Hotel, Jay still ...