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The Great Gatsby and the “American Dream”

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The Great Gatsby is a novel that is popularly considered to be a literary classic. The book is consistently classified as one of the greatest works of American literature, but what makes this novel so remarkable? The answer is simple: the green light. Located at the end of Daisy’s East Egg dock is a green light that has a much larger significance to it than it appears to have at first glance. The green light represents the desire of achieving the “American Dream”. The "American dream" can be explained simply as a better life obtained through hard work and determination. It is supposed to result in happiness for whoever achieves the dream. However, this “American Dream” can have different meanings to everyone. This includes two of the main characters of The Great Gatsby: Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Each character had a distinct interpretation of the “American Dream”.
The title character of the novel, Jay Gatsby, is introduced to the reader as an extremely wealthy mystery man. He is famous for the extravagant parties he throws every weekend, but no one knows where he came from, what he does, or how he made his fortune. As the novel continues, Nick, Gatsby’s new neighbor and the narrator of the novel, learns that Gatsby was born into a dirt poor family in North Dakota. He had always been in love with the idea of being wealthy, especially when he worked for a wealthy man named Dan Cody. Jay Gatsby’s abundant wealth can be attributed greatly to his ambition. As described, many would think that Gatsby’s lifestyle represented the “American Dream”, correct? Well it did not, at least not for Gatsby.
The first time the green light is seen in the novel is also the first time Nick sees Gatsby. Fitzgerald writes, “He stretched out his arms...

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...ailure of the dream of at least one person? This could be why sometimes the “American Dream” is not attainable for some people, regardless of what their definition of the “American Dream” is. That may be the biggest similarity between the “American Dream” from the 1920s and the “American Dream” today: only a few fortunate people will ever cross the bay of challenges and finally reach the green light.

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