The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby

The capacity to dream is a natural characteristic possessed by all

mankind. Americans living in a country based on the philosophy of

pursuing great American dreams go about pursuing their own goals in

many ways. Ironically the American dream itself is the ultimate

illusion that can never satisfy those who pursue it. The American

dream was only possible when it was a potential. Nick in

Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, realized this as he imagines a past

when the Dutch first laid their eyes on the vast wilderness of the

uninhabited United States. Gatsby’s ideals in this novel are the

ideals of all Americans. Gatsby and Americans search for a dream and

yet nobody truly understands what it is they are really in search of.

People go about fulfilling these dreams by using cheap reality and in

the end it does not measure up to the size of the dream itself; the

dreamer is bound to be disappointed with every accomplishment of the


At the conclusion of Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby, the main

character Gatsby has recently died and Nick stands facing the front

door of Gatsby’s mansion. From this moment, Nick looks at Gatsby’s

house for a last time. He sees a swear word on the wall, and like

Holden in the book, The Catcher in the Rye, he too crosses the word

out; trying to preserve the innocence. Nick wants to keep Gatsby’s

dream pure even though it is already lost. Later on while Nick is all

alone, everything begins to melt away. He starts to picture how it

looked a hundred years ago when the Dutch sailors first reached a new

world. Nick’s world becomes the world of idealism, where the physical

world doesn’t matter; the great house of Gatsby begins to melt away

and finally disappear in Nick’s mind for that moment.

Nick sees that, “…for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held

his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an

aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to

face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his

capacity for wonder,” (pg 189). For that one time the Dutch merchants

saw the idea of property in a different way. The Dutch saw the

wilderness and trees not as wood- cutters or property owners but as

poets, like presented in Emerson’s, “Nature.” Wood- cutters own the

timber physically, but, “there is a property in the horizon which no

man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the

poet,”(Nature). The Dutch saw the beauty of the land and trees and

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