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Blurry Dreams in The Great Gatsby
The American Dream is a path people set out upon in order to achieve a goal, usually pertaining to the acquirement of stability and security. The dreams of these people were followed through with strong hope and perseverance. Yet, during the period of the 1920's, this dream was obstructed by the need for materialistic power. Scott Fitzgerald portrays this destruction of the American Dream through the main character, Jay Gatsby, in his novel The Great Gatsby. Gatsby longs to rekindle a past romance with his love Daisy Buchanan, but this dream is obliterated by his greed of wanting more of something he never could have.
Jay Gatsby destroys the chance of living a normal, healthy life when he decides that he must reach an unattainable goal, having Daisy as his wife. Yet, Gatsby hadn't always lived his life as a man in search of an abundance of what was presented to him. This is made apparent in the end of the novel at his own funeral, when Gatsby's father, Mr.Gatz, presents Nick Carraway, the narrator of the novel with a keepsake from Gatsby's childhood. The object is a journal of resolves that Gatsby had listed for himself to accomplish. Most of these goals were in reach of accomplishment, making it very capable of Gatsby to achieve his aspirations without fail. Mr. Gatz, marveling at the ambition Gatsby held for himself, "read each item aloud and then look[ed] eagerly at me. I think he rather expected me to copy down the list for my own use" (182). This statement shows how Mr. Gatz does believe in his son's old dreams of trying to better himself as a person. This goal, with work, seemed attainable and most likely to happen, but a stronger outside force of money pushed Gatsby in another direction.
Gatsby's early goals of manner and such seemed picayune in a society run by wealth and materialistic power. Therefore, in order to survive in this society, he changed himself from a man born under the poor family name James Gatz, to the falsely commended Jay Gatsby. His drive to succeed in the world was so strong that Gatsby went through illegal measures of bootlegging.
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After Gatsby has established himself to his New York community that he is indeed a highly acclaimed wealthy man, he feels ready to reunite with Daisy. After realizing that Gatsby has now established him as the perfect man, someone she loves but more importantly someone with money, Daisy begins to spend her time revitalizing the affection that she and Gatsby once shared. Gatsby believed that he and Daisy could take their passion to the next level; where Daisy would tell Tom she never loved him and walk away from her husband and child. Although this illusory ideal could never be possible, Gatsby remains fully attached to Daisy, in pursuit that she might one day reciprocate the same dreams Gatsby has. Near the end of the novel, where it becomes evident that Daisy will stay with her family, Gatsby is "...left standing in the moonlight-watching over nothing"(153). Gatsby remains outside the Buchanan house, hoping that Daisy will come to him, but that won't happen. There is "nothing" left to hope for in his pursuit of Daisy.
Gatsby's life was led by money and love through his latter years, abandoning dreams of being a better person from the earlier years. Like the many American's of the 1920's, Gatsby is no different than them in the same respect that dreams can be obstructed by a blurry vision of success. Success to Gatsby and these people were to have more than that could be attainable. Gatsby set out on a path to gain Daisy's love, yet even when this was achieved, he still longed for more than could be possible. Fitzgerald is able to capture a significant portrayal of the demolition of the ideal American Dream through the character of Jay Gatsby and his unrequited ideals for Daisy.