The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby

The capacity to dream is a natural characteristic possessed by all
mankind. Americans living in a country based on the philosophy of
pursuing great American dreams go about pursuing their own goals in
many ways. Ironically the American dream itself is the ultimate
illusion that can never satisfy those who pursue it. The American
dream was only possible when it was a potential. Nick in
Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, realized this as he imagines a past
when the Dutch first laid their eyes on the vast wilderness of the
uninhabited United States. Gatsby’s ideals in this novel are the
ideals of all Americans. Gatsby and Americans search for a dream and
yet nobody truly understands what it is they are really in search of.
People go about fulfilling these dreams by using cheap reality and in
the end it does not measure up to the size of the dream itself; the
dreamer is bound to be disappointed with every accomplishment of the
dream.

At the conclusion of Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby, the main
character Gatsby has recently died and Nick stands facing the front
door of Gatsby’s mansion. From this moment, Nick looks at Gatsby’s
house for a last time. He sees a swear word on the wall, and like
Holden in the book, The Catcher in the Rye, he too crosses the word
out; trying to preserve the innocence. Nick wants to keep Gatsby’s
dream pure even though it is already lost. Later on while Nick is all
alone, everything begins to melt away. He starts to picture how it
looked a hundred years ago when the Dutch sailors first reached a new
world. Nick’s world becomes the world of idealism, where the physical
world doesn’t matter; the great house of Gatsby begins to melt away
and finally disappear in Nick’s mind for that moment.

Nick sees that, “…for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held
his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an
aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to
face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his
capacity for wonder,” (pg 189). For that one time the Dutch merchants
saw the idea of property in a different way. The Dutch saw the
wilderness and trees not as wood- cutters or property owners but as
poets, like presented in Emerson’s, “Nature.” Wood- cutters own the
timber physically, but, “there is a property in the horizon which no
man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the
poet,”(Nature). The Dutch saw the beauty of the land and trees and

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owned the land in their minds by remembering it and visualizing it.
For that period of time the Dutch merchants were satisfied. But as
these feelings pass them they once again saw the land as wood-cutters
and owners; causing them to build fences and preserve the trees and
lands for themselves. As they arrive on the land the ideas of the
wood-cutter become more dominate than the ideas of the poet

In many ways dreams are too immense to be satisfied by reality. This
is shown in the Dutchman and in Gatsby; both had ideas and dreams so
great that when they actually received what they wanted the reality
wouldn’t be able to live up to their expectations. Before they
accomplished their dreams their possibilities were endless. For the
Dutchman, before he arrived to America he carried temporary feelings
of awe, where there were no limitations. The man goes through a
wonderful dream state in which he sees all he has fantasized, open
land. Unfortunately once reality sets in one cannot help but be
slightly disappointed. Since the continent was built up too much in
the sailor’s mind the true continent cannot compare. In the case of
Gatsby this notion is shown in Gatsby’s love for Daisy. All his life
he tries to become one of the higher-class men in order to gain back
the love he lost from Daisy. Almost everyday Gatsby dreams of the
time when Daisy will finally leave Tom to be with him. The dream was
perfect, everything goes well and everything goes the way Gatsby want
it to. But when he ultimately achieves that moment thing do not go
his way. Everything is different; in Gatsby’s dream he gives everyone
lines and imagines Daisy to say, “I love you,” where afterwards she
would just leave Tom. However in reality Daisy dose not follow
Gatsby’s dream and says, “I did love him once, but I loved you too,”
(133). Once again since the dream is so great the reality cannot
compare.

At the heart of this story is that dreams are only possible when they
are still a dream. This can be shown within Gatsby’s experiences.
When Gatsby kissed Daisy for the first time his dreams clashed with
reality, which caused his dream to be destroyed. The same concept
lies within the Dutch; for that one moment the Dutch looked at the
land and saw how great it was, but once they stepped into America
their dreams were also shattered. In addition to the last chapter the
reader finds that Daisy and Tom had moved to the east. From this
Fitzgerald tries to pass the message that Tom and Daisy are going back
to the past where the Dutch originally came from. The east was the
place where the Dutch first dreamed of the greatness of America.
Without knowing it Daisy and Tom moved east because of their longing
for the past, where dreams were still possible. From the last
paragraph of the book Fitzgerald says, “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 farther,” (182). This passage pertains that
Gatsby’s dream is much like our own; we as a nation are spoiled, when
we want one thing we believe that it would satisfy us, but later when
another thing comes up we want that as well, it is an endless cycle.
Overall Fitzgerald is telling us that we are endlessly dissatisfied.
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