The American Dream
Gatsby's pursuit of the American dream is depicted in The Great Gatsby, by Scott Fitzgerald. In the novel, the American dream is shown through Gatsby's eyes. The novel shows the downfall of Gatsby's attempts to reach its illusionary goals. The attempt to capture the American dream is central throughout life. For Gatsby, his dream is not through wealth or power, but for his love of Daisy. All Gatsby has ever wanted in life is to have happiness, but Gatsby can only achieve his happiness by winning Daisy. To get this happiness Gatsby must reach into the past and relive an old dream. The American
dream has always been based on the idea that each person no matter who he or she is can become successful in life by hard work. The dream is 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 1920's, 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.
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, Gatsby throws extravagant parties, hoping by chance that Daisy will show up at one of them. Gatsby even moves next to Daisy just so he can be near her. "Gatsby bought that house so that
Daisy would be across the bay" (83).
Jay is convinced that he loves Daisy and that Daisy loves him. Gatsby proves this by taking the blame for the death of Myrtle. Gatsby thinks that if he takes the blame then Daisy will see how much he loves her. "Was Daisy driving?" "Yes...But of course I'll say I was" (151). He also protects and watches Daisy as she returns home. "How long are you going to wait?" "All night if necessary" (152).
Gatsby is sure that accept that the past is gone. He is sure that he can capture his dream with wealth and influence. Gatsby believes that his act in his personal interest will insure his success. Nick trys to tell Jay of his stupidity, but Gatsby innocently replies to Nick's assertion that the past can not be relived by saying, "Yes you can, old sport" (141).Gatsby's own characteristics contribute to his fate. Gatsby is unable to control his
obsessive desire to have Daisy.
The result of Gatsby's foolishness makes his dream vanish. Through the novel, Gatsby's motivation and ambition are extinguished with the pursuit of an empty goal. The idea of the American dream still holds true in todays time. No matter if it is love, wealth or fame, everyone strives to get what they want to achieve.