The American Dream is the opportunity for prosperity and success and is influencing the rest of the world. This dream is present in Scott Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby’.
In this classic text the author warns us about how the unrealistic Dream is the cause of our empty pursuit of money and happiness.
On the surface the novel is about the extravagant lifestyle and love but underneath the story emcompasses the author’s views on the American Dream.
Jay Gatsby is a self-made millionaire, who is willing to make a false image of himself in order to be with the love of his life. He makes the decision to achieve his goal even if it means that he has to bend the rules.
Gatsby’s goal is to be with the woman he loves which is Daisy Buchanan, he believes that if he can be with her he will finally be happy.
Gatsby is the ultimate symbol of The American Dream, he had started from nothing, worked his way up to the top, and had “Sprung from his Platonic conception of himself”.
This narrative is used to show that Gatsby conforms to an ideal of himself that transforms reality into possibility.
For this reason he reinvents himself and buys a mansion in West Egg across the dock from Daisy.
Daisy is beautiful and charming, she is the “Golden girl” and Gatsby knew in order to get the girl of his dreams he must be wealthy, even if it meant illegally selling alcohol.
Fitzgerald uses Gatsby’s character to show what people are willing to go through in the pursuit of being rich, but in reality it is almost impossible to get into the upper social class if you were not born into it.
Fitzgerald uses the technique symbolism when Gatsby reaches towards the green light at the end of the dock.
He “Believed in the green light, the orgastic future…tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.”
From this narrative we see Gatsby’s goal which is to be with the perfect Daisy Buchanan and knows that the only way he can win her heart is by becoming successful.
Fitzgerald also uses the metaphoric line to show the struggle of human beings to achieve their goals of becoming rich.
This highlights Gatsby’s fantasy and how he believes that in order to achieve happiness and be with the love of his life, he must become wealthy.
Also, from this we realize that many people of our society believe that we can buy happiness and love with money.
In the novel the concept of love is pure, compared to money which is corrupt. Gatsby is in love with the idea of Daisy, she represents a world of beauty, elegance and money.
Daisy is a way for Gatsby to enter her world, and in order to recapture her heart he must prove himself worthy. Daisy is the most wanted girl and Gatsby’s ultimate goal.
He describes Daisy as “made out of money”, therefore the origin of Daisy’s beauty is due to how much money she was born into.
Fitzgerald uses this metaphor to illustrate the materialism within our society and our obsession to become wealthy.
In a flashback of when Gatsby had first met Daisy, it’s shows that he had a “grand vision for his life and Daisy”,
he tells Nick that he loves Daisy for her youth, vitality and idolised her position, wealth and popularity.
She was even the first girl to whom he had lied about his background to make her believe that he was worthy of her and his uniform was the only thing that had hid that he was a penniless young man.
This suggests that in order for Gatsby to be with the love of his life, he must prove that he is good enough. In order to impress Daisy,
Gatsby takes her on a tour of his mansion to seduce her with his wealth by showing her his designer shirts from England.
Daisy then begins to sob and says ” It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts.”
Fitzgerald uses this to highlight the relationship between love and money and to symbolize the materialism in Gatsby’s dream.
As readers we realize that we live in a money oriented society and as a result many choose to marry for the wrong reasons due to their greed.
It is clear that Gatsby’s dream is unrealistic and falling apart. Gatsby wants to “fix everything just the way it was before”.
This dialogue suggests that Gatsby’s dream to “repeat the past” is an unrealistic illusion. In Nick’s eyes, Gatsby embodies that the ability to dream and escape the past is impossible.
Therefore he tells Gatsby that he “Can’t repeat the past”, Gatsby then responds “Can’t repeat that past?, well of course you can”.
Gatsby needs to know that Daisy has been emotionally loyal to him and tell him that she “never loved Tom”, but once he finds out that she loved him “too” meaning both Tom and Gatsby,
Nick’s observation confirms that Gatsby’s dream is now dead. Also, when he stretches his arms and makes it past the green light, it shows that he has finally made it onto Daisy’s house,
but his dreams are now gone forever. This helps us realize that the American Dream maybe a myth and the social divide between Gatsby and Daisy will always stop him from having her.
They come from different social backgrounds and no matter how wealthy Gatsby has become, he will never be able to have her.
From this we begin to understand that the American Dream is false and unreachable, because wealth and success cannot be used to pursuit love and happiness.
Gatsby had worked very hard to become wealthy in order to be with Daisy because he believes that you can gain anything with wealth.
The parties, mansion and all the money was all for nothing, this is shown towards the end when Daisy runs over her husbands mistress with the “death car,
and let’s Gatsby face the consequences for something that she had done. As a result Gatsby was then killed in his pool which he had never used until this day,
also because everything he had owned was nothing but a symbolism of his vast income. He was left with nothing but his money,
also Gatsby had died with the false hope of winning back Daisy and that he was finally going to be happy. None of Gatsby’s friends had turned up to his funeral and he ends up with the blame for everything,
the murder and the affair. Gatsby’s dream ended him with nothing but a life of emptiness, and inspite of all his hard work he does not get Daisy in the end.
Fitzgerald uses this to show the fickleness of the American dream. As readers we begin to understand Fitzgerald’s intention the belief that money can give you everything you want is false.
Overall, “The Great Gatsby” narrates the story of Jay Gatsby’s life, who was born the son of poor middle western farmers.
His determination to achieve this unattainable goal of becoming wealthy and getting the girl of his dreams(Daisy), only to result with him to be left miserable and empty life.
Fitzgerald illustrates the ill’s within our society through the use of Jay Gatsby, from this we see that the goal and gaining materialistic objects and money will not helps us find happiness and love.
Many of us choose money and materialistic resources over the things that really matter, such as love and relationships. It is almost as if everything we do is driven by the end goal of becoming rich,
therefore our society has drowned in its own ambition and their pursuit of the American dream. For this reason ,
we must understand the fickles of the American Dream and that wealth should not be associated with happiness.