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The Mirage in The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a book of love and tragedy that all leads back to dreams and ideas, but never reality. Gatsby is a man of great wealth and is truly rich. Or is he? The Great Gatsby has many disguises that play a major role in several characters' lives, but mostly Gatsby's'. Gatsby believes that he will be very successful and get what he wants, including Daisy, if he is rich. He succeeded in getting money and living a life of luxury, but is never truly rich. He is always so set on the future and what things could be if this, or if that happens, that he never lives in the present. Because Gatsby never lives in the present, he ends up doing that permanently, and by the end of the book, he lives no more. When Gatsby was alive, he seemed never to be happy, because he was never satisfied with himself; Gatsby tried to change himself. He always tried to reach for his vision, which is represented by the green light, but never seemed to achieve it because he didn't ever live in the life he had; Gatsby lived in the life he wanted. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses green light to represent the unreachable dream in the future that is always being sought after and wanted by Gatsby, but never obtained.
In The Great Gatsby, the green light is visible to many and always distant. To some, like Tom, it is just a light, but to others, like Gatsby, it is their hopeful future. As Tom said in chapter one, "I glanced seaward-and distinguished nothing except a green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of the dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness"(Gatsby 26). He saw a green light. That is all, just a light that may have been at the end of the dock. When Gatsby vanished, this represented him approaching and trying to attain the green light, which was his future he sought after and believed in. As Marius Bewley agrees, the green light represents his faith, "An image of that green light, symbol of Gatsby's faith, burns across the bay,"(Bewley 24).
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To Gatsby, his idealistic future, his green light, is associated with Daisy and so she is his dream that will never be reached. It is later in the book, in chapter five, when the green light starts to relate to Daisy, because Daisy becomes part of Gatsby's desired future, "If it wasn't for the mist I could see your home across the bay. You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock,"(Gatsby 98). Eventually, Gatsby wants to arrive at that green light, grasp it, and develop his life into it, with Daisy. As Marius Bewley says, "For Gatsby, Daisy does not exist in herself. She is the green light that signals him into the heart of his ultimate vision,"(Bewley 19). In view of the fact that the green light is Gatsby's wanted future, if he associates Daisy with the green light, then obviously he want her to be in his ideal life later on.
Gatsby never fulfilled his life by arriving at the green light, his unreachable dream, because he was too involved in his future to worry about his current situation. The further and further Gatsby reached, the further the green light seemed. His romantic and impractical future that he sought after became less and less likely to occur one day, "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter-tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further...and one fine morning-So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past"(Gatsby 189).
Gatsby just couldn't grasp the idea that Daisy would not end up with him no matter how he envisioned it or how much money he had, by now you know he is not truly rich.
From the day Gatsby started planning his schedule as a boy, because he had a "big future" in front of him, until the day that he died, he always had confidence of getting what he wanted. He never did get what he wanted, his green light, but he believed in it and never stopped reaching for it, "The green light is successful because, apart from its visual effectiveness as it gleams across the bay, it embodies the profound naiveté of Gatsby's sense of the future, while simultaneously suggesting the historicity of his hope,"(Bewley 21). Gatsby was guilty of dreaming and believing there could be a life better then he had at that time, so he didn't really live through that life, in the present, he had hope, that is it. He always consistently reached for the green light, and each time he would reach, he would be pulled further and further from reality, until he was finally out of reality, and had his life taken away from him.