Essay, Research Paper: Great Gatsby Experiences

Literature: The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. 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
Jay must reach into the past and relive an old dream and in order to do this he
must have wealth and power. Jay Gatsby, the central figure of the story, is one
character that longs for the past. For example, 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 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. In addition, 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. Furthermore, he himself, does not attend his
parties but watches them from a distance. When this dream doesn't 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 know...if you'll
invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over (83)."
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 believes that Daisy loves him. For example, Gatsby is convinced of this as
is shown when he takes the blame for Myrtle's death. "Was Daisy
driving?" "Yes...but of course I'll say I was." (151) In
addition, he also watches and protects Daisy as she returns home. "How long
are you going to wait?" "All night if necessary." (152) Jay
cannot accept that the past is gone and done with. Jay is sure that he can
capture his dream with wealth and influence. Furthermore, Mr. Gatsby believes
that he acted for a good beyond his personal interest and that should guarantee
success. Nick attempts to show Jay the folly of his dream, but Jay innocently
replies to Nick's assertion that the past cannot be relived by saying, "Yes
you can, old sport." This shows the confidence that Jay has in fulfilling
his American Dream. For Jay, his American Dream is not material possessions,
although it may seem that way. He only comes into riches so that he can fulfill
his true American Dream, Daisy. Gatsby doesn't rest until his American Dream is
finally fulfilled. However, it never comes about and he ends up paying the
ultimate price for it. The idea of the American Dream still holds true in
today's time, be it wealth, love, or fame. But one thing never changes about the
American Dream; everyone desires something in life, and everyone, somehow,
strives to get it. Gatsby is a prime example of pursuing the American Dream.
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