Jay Gatsby's Dream

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Jay Gatsby's Dream F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is a tragic tale of love distorted by obsession. Finding himself in the city of New York, Jay Gatsby is a loyal and devoted man who is willing to cross oceans and build mansions for his one true love. His belief in realistic ideals and his perseverance greatly influence all the decisions he makes and ultimately direct the course of his life. Gatsby has made a total commitment to a dream, and he does not realize that his dream is hollow. Although his intentions are true, he sometimes has a crude way of getting his point across. When he makes his ideals heard, his actions are wasted on a thoughtless and shallow society. Jay Gatsby effectively embodies a romantic idealism that is sustained and destroyed by the intensity of his own dream. It is also Gatsby’s ideals that blind him to reality. When he first meets Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby has “committed himself to the following of a grail” (156). With extreme dedication, he stops at nothing to win her love back, after years of separation. Gatsby’s idealized conception of Daisy is the motivating force that underlies his compulsion to become successful. Everything he has done, up to this point, has been directed toward winning Daisy’s favor and having her back in his life. The greatest example of this dedication is the mansion he has constructed, “a colossal affair by any standard...with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden” (9). Once a “penniless young man without a past” (156), he transforms himself into a self-made millionaire and builds an extravagant mansion, all for the love of Daisy Buchanan. He also strategically places the mansion across the lake from Daisy’s house. From his window, Gatsby can see the blue colored lights of her house. Gatsby seems to be caught in a conflict between materialism and idealism that created and still defines the American character. Starting from the first day that he meets her, Gatsby does everything within his power to please Daisy. Nothing has changed for him as far as his feelings for Daisy are concerned, even though it has been five years since their first meeting, and despite the fact that she has married Tom Buchanan. He “revalue[s] everything in his house according to the amount of response it... ... middle of paper ... ... truth. Gatsby dies from a gunshot and floats face down in the middle of his marble pool until his butler discovers his body. For almost five years, his idealism and his perseverance kept him, and his dream, alive. But sadly enough, he had no way of knowing that these very traits would also kill him. “His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.” (189) Like many Americans still believe today, Gatsby believed that material things alone constitutes the American Dream. The story itself, and the main figure, are tragic, and it is precisely the fantastic vulgarity of the scene which adds to the excellence of Gatsby’s soul its finest qualities, and to his tragic fate its sharpest edge. Gatsby is betrayed to the reader gradually, and with such tenderness, which in the end makes his tragedy a deeply moving one. Finally, before his death, Gatsby becomes disillusioned. His inner life of dreams loses its power and he finds himself alone in the emptiness of a purely material universe. Works Cited Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Ed. Matthew J. Bruccoli, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925

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