Essay on The Great Gatsby - Dreams of Happiness

Essay on The Great Gatsby - Dreams of Happiness

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Happiness symbolises a form of content, a form of satisfaction that can lead to several types of actions. In the Great Gatsby, happiness is portrayed in unusual forms with different characters, however every single character had some form of a Dream in mind. Fitzgerald juxtaposes his influence of T.S Elliot’s use of Valley of the Ashes showing poverty, decay and lost spiritualism with the rich life style of West Egg as he shows the wealth, parties and liveliness in this Egg. The Egg represents the symbol of birth and life, as well as the fragility of society and mainly the fragility of Dreams.
Each character in the novel has their own interpretation of the ‘American Dream – the pursuit of happiness’ as they all lack happiness due to the careless nature of American society during the Jazz Age. The American Dreams seems almost non-existent to those whom haven’t already achieved it.

Every character in the novel has moments of feeling happy and endures a moment where they believe that they are about to achieve their dreams. Naturally everyone dreams of being a better person, having better things and in 1920’s America, the scheme of get rich quick. However each character had their dreams crushed in the novel mainly because of social and economical situations and their dream of happiness becomes a ‘dead dream’ leading them back to their ‘shallow lives’ or no life at all.

If happiness means to have achieved all goals, having money and power, then Tom Buchanan is the only exception in the novel that can be classed as Happy and he has no clear signs of having a Dream in the novel except to be himself, a wealthy, powerful man. Fitzgerald describes Tom as ‘a national figure’ implying that he is a depiction of the American Dream as th...


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...standing alone on the marble step’ as ‘No one swooned backward on Gatsby’, however Gatsby was content standing alone looking over his ‘constant flicker of men and women’ but Nick was also alone. He tries to inflict his loneliness into other characters and he refers to his loneliness many times in the novel ‘I felt a haunting loneliness’. So clearly Nick was unhappy with the fact that he was lonely, and he wanted to come to West Egg to become a Bond salesman but this dream fails in the end too. His happiness lies in the thought of him being with Jordan whom ‘he thought he loved’ and kissed but he rejected her in the end shattering both their dreams of happiness with each other. Also in the end he ends up going back to his ‘bored, swollen town’ in East Egg where he felt comfortable, so his search for independence was broken with the ‘death of Gatsby’ that haunted him.

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