Great Gatsby Book Report

This essay has a total of 806 words and 4 pages.


Great Gatsby





Gatsby's Pursuit of the American Dream The Great Gatsby, a novel by Scott Fitzgerald, is
about the American Dream, and the downfall of those who attempt to reach its illusionary
goals. The attempt to capture the American Dream is central to many novels. This dream is
different for different people; but, in The Great Gatsby, for Jay, the dream is that
through wealth and power, one can acquire happiness. To get this happiness James must
reach into the past and relive an old dream; and, in order to do this, he must have wealth
and power. The American Dream had always been based on the idea that each person no matter
who he or she is can become successful in life by his or her hard work. The dream also
embodied the idea of a self-sufficient man, an entrepreneur making it successful for
himself. The Great Gatsby is about what happened to the American Dream in the 1920s, a
time period when the dream had been corrupted by the avaricious pursuit of wealth. The
pursuit of the American Dream is the sublime motivation for accomplishing one's goals and
producing achievements, however when tainted with wealth the dream becomes devoid and
hollow. Jay Gatsby, the central figure of the story, is one character who longs for the
past. Surprisingly, he devotes most of his adult life trying to recapture it and, finally,
dies in its pursuit. In the past, Gatsby had a love affair with the affluent Daisy.
Knowing he could not marry her because of the difference in their social status, he leaves
her to amass wealth to reach her economic standards. Once he acquires wealth, he moves
near to Daisy, "Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay
(p83)," and throws extravagant parties, hoping by chance she might show up at one of them.
He, himself, does not attend his parties but watches them from a distance. When this dream
does not happen, he asks around casually if anyone knows her. Soon, he meets Nick
Carraway, a cousin of Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting, "He wants to know…if
you'll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over (p83)."
Gatsby's personal dream symbolizes the larger American Dream where all have the
opportunity to get what they want. Later, as we see in the Plaza Hotel, Jay still believes
that Daisy loves him. He is convinced of this as is shown when he takes the blame for
Myrtle's death. "Was Daisy driving?" "Yes…. But of course I'll say I was (p151)." He
also watches and protects Daisy as she returns home. "How long are you going to wait?"
"All night if necessary (p152)". Gatsby cannot accept that the past is gone and done with.
He is sure that he can capture his dream with wealth and influence. He believes that he
acted for a good beyond his personal interest that should guarantee success. Nick attempts
to show Jay the folly of his dream, but Gatsby innocently replies to Nick's assertion that
the past cannot be relived by saying, "Yes you can, old sport (p141)". This shows the
confidence that Jay has in fulfilling his American Dream. For Jay, his American Dream is
not material possessions, although it may seem that way. He only comes into riches so that
he can fulfill his true American Dream, Daisy. Gatsby does not rest until his American
Dream is finally fulfilled. However, it never comes about and he ends up paying the
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