gatdream Trading Life for a Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby - Trading Life for a Dream What is life? Life embodies ones dreams mixed in with successes and most importantly, love. Following this definition, Jay Gatsby lives a fulfilling existence while Nick stays put and ordinary like stagnant water. Life is full of risks and Gatsby risks his life for love and happiness. Even though he did lose his life, he didn't pay too high a price for living too long a single and farfetched dream of true love. Gatsby is the epitome of the American Dream, "his brown, hardening body lived naturally through the half fierce, half lazy work of the bracing days...as a clam digger and a salmon fisher." (104) From this Gatsby became a robber baron, an American capitalist who became wealthy through exploitation and in Gatsby's case, through bootlegging. Anger is what made Gatsby and wealth and power were his means toward the goals of happiness and true love. Gatsby supports this when he says to Tom, "she only married you because I was too poor and she was tired of waiting for me." (137) Gatsby has never forgotten that if he had had the money when he first met her, then she would be his. So this propels him on a quest to make money and use the money to relive the past. Daisy is currently married and has a daughter. Despite this, Gatsby still wants to make it like old times. After all, his beliefs drive him to do crazy things. Beliefs founded on different principles, "Can't repeat the past? Why of course you can...I'm going to fix everything just the way it was before. She'll see." (116-117) Gatsby's dreams drive him to do the impossible, change the past. Nick struggles to understand why a man would spend so much time and money for something that lasted so short and in no way in favor of Gatsby. "His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was" (117), the idea of a mutual love relationship with Daisy as it was in the past.

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