Everyone has dreams of being successful in life. When the word American comes to mind one often thinks of the land of opportunity. This dream was apparent with the first settlers, and it is apparent in today’s society. In F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925), he illustrates the challenges and tragedies associated with the American dream. By examining Jay Gatsby, Tom Buchanan, and Myrtle Wilson through the narrator Nick Carraway, I understand the complex nature of the American dream. Jay Gatsby represents the cost complex of them all.
Gatsby overcame many obstacles in order to accomplish is dream. Born to shiftless and unsuccessful farmers (104), determined to make something of himself he legally changes his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby. In his youth he worked along the shores of Lake Superior, as a fisherman. There he meets Don Cody a self made millionaire. Cody made Gatsby his personal assistant and together they made several voyages. When Cody dies Gatsby inherits $25,000 however, he is unable to claim it, due to legal issues and Cody’s wife Ella.
Gatsby and Daisy meet when he was in the army. Although the love they had for each other is strong, they did not marry due to his financial status. He goes overseas and she later marries Tom Buchanan. Throughout the years he never stops dreaming about Daisy, he knows wealth and status means everything to her. Gatsby leaves college because he finds his job as a janitor degrading.
Gatsby’s dream is to win the heart of Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby is a handsome, youthful man, who lives in West Egg. West Egg represents “new money”, those who recently became rich but, lack an established social position. His mansion sits on “more than forty acres of lawn and garden”; he drives a yellow car of enormous length. This location was intentionally chosen in order to be closer to Daisy who lives in East Egg. He reinvents himself as a millionaire, only to win her heart. Gatsby is well known for his elaborate parties; where there is an abundance of food, live Jazz musicians and unlimited liquor. Gatsby never attends his parties. He is merely and absorber; watching instead of taking part. They are thrown with one purpose, to attract Daisy. Those who attend his parties never really know who he was. Their sole purpose was for attending ...
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Myrtle’s frequent trips raise George’s suspicions of myrtle’s affair; he makes plans for them to move west. Determined to defy her husband, Myrtle tries to run away, but is killed by a yellow car. Though the car belonged to Gatsby, Daisy is the driver. Convinced that Daisy loves him, he takes the blame. Gatsby’s of Daisy are too high and his expectations. His hopes and dreams are shattered, when Daisy and her husband suddenly disappears after the accident. Tom and Daisy they were careless people, they smashed up things and retreated back to their money, and let other people clean up the mess they had made (187-188). Heartbroken by his wife’s murder, George hunts down the owner of the yellow car. Assuming the owner is myrtle’s lover he shoots Gatsby, before committing the worse sin of all, suicide. The love he had for Myrtle was real. Both men are ruined by their love for women involved with Tom Buchanan. Nick organize Gatsby’s funeral, but finds very few people who cares. I believe the American Dream seems corrupted by the search for wealth and material possessions.
Fitzgerald, Scott F. The Great Gatsby. Simon and Schuster, New York. 1925.
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