The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In F. Scott Fitzgerald's, The Great Gatsby, the pursuit of the American dream in a corrupt period is a central theme. This theme exemplifies itself in the downfall of Gatsby. In a time of disillusionment the ideals of the American dream are lost. The classic American dream is one of materialism and when Gatsby incorporates Daisy, a human being, into the dream he is doomed to fail.

Gatsby is great because of his ability to dream in a time of deception. He is corrupt but the 1920's were a corrupt time, thus making it justifiable. But this corruptness has nothing to do with his dream; it has to do with the misconceptions of so many others that lived in the period. Gatsby's dream is originally, solely materialistic until he brings Daisy into the dream. Consequently Gatsby would never fully realize his dream, as Daisy is not a material object. Gatsby "had committed himself to the following of a grail," (156, Fitzgerald) a possession. As a result, he and his dream are destined to fail.

Gatsby is unrealistic. He believes he can relive the past and rekindle the flame he and Daisy once had. He is lost in his dream and accepts that anything can be repeated, "Can't repeat the past…Why of course you can!" (116, Fitzgerald). For Gatsby, failure to realize this resurrection of love is utterly appalling. His whole career, his conception of himself and his life is totally shattered. Gatsby's death when it comes is almost insignificant, for with the collapse of his dream, he is spiritually dead.

In Gatsby's death Fitzgerald suggest that the American dream is a false attraction, "[Gatsby] paid a high price for living to long with a single dream" (169, Fitzgerald). Corruption of the dream is especially apparent when Nick discusses the origins of the American dream, "Dutch sailors eyes-a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of human dreams…his capacity to wonder" (189, Fitzgerald). Fitzgerald illustrates that the dream has vanished and Gatsby's "capacity to wonder" is all that is left of the original dream.

In a time of immorality and misconception, Gatsby's dream is predestined to perish. Gatsby tries to stay true to his dream, but the disillusionment of the period is what kills him.
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