The Great Gatsby written by F Scott Fitzgerald in 1920sillustrates the failure in striving for the American Dream. Whathe failed to understand was that Daisy and he lived in twodifferent worlds, which because of social circumstance wasnever allowed to intermingle. Daisy was a rich southern belle,who became involved with Gatsby when they were still youngand later rejected him, because he was too poor to marry herand in his place married Tom Buchanan, a rich abusive manwho ended up cheating on her. From the start they took himfor a fraud and thats all that he ended up being, because henever understood the true meaning of the American Dream. Hemistook the meaning of success for being wealthy and as aresult he died having lived like one of the East Eggers, whomhe despised. Like the idle rich of East Egg he too accomplishednothing.
His evolution as a man amounted to nothing morethan a faded dream, because he never did accomplish what hehad set out to do, which was to win back the heart of his onetrue love, Daisy. The prize for his success is similar to one whohas made a deal with the devil in the sense that the reward isnot worth the sacrifices made to attain it.Gatsby is a man whose delusions of achieving theAmerican Dream is corrupted by the basis on which he strivesfor it. American Dream consists of becoming rich through hardwork and determination through legal means. Gatsbys poorbackground didnt afford him to take the straight and narrowpath through life, so instead he chose to make his money byworking for the mob. After leaving the Army he met this richdrunk named Cody who employed him as a worker on his boat.He ended up befriending Cody in hopes of inheriting hisfortune. He never inherited his fortune, but instead from thisexperience he learned that drinking could ruin a mans dreamof success.
From this point in his history he becomes cloudedin an air of mystery leaving the reader to only speculate howhe became involved with the mob. According to his neighborspeople are in and out of his house at all hours of the day. Andsometimes some notorious mobsters were spotted gatheredaround his place in what were thought to be mob meetings. Hewas a notorious figure linked to scandals as the 1913 WorldSeries and the numerous drugs stores/ bootlegging shop,which afforded him the mansion of West Egg. The maincharacter of this story, Jay Gatsby whose rags to riches historybrings with him much scrutiny that revealed the truth behindhis rise to success. His sudden move to West Egg where no oneknew him caused much suspicion amongst his well to doneighbors.
The contradiction in the lies that he told made EastEggers further their suspicion; along with the fact that suchobscure details about his tenure at Oxford were left to theimagination and his overuse of the phrase Old Sport madehim look ridiculous. Rumors about Gatsbys notorious pasthovered over his parties like a dark cloud hindering his socialprogress to make friends with his neighbors. One of Gatsbysmany contradictions was that he read all the books in his studywhen according to the idle drunk were still uncut. His overusethe word old sport is used by Tom at the end of the book inhis confrontation with Gatsby to show his falseness. He tried tohide his poor past to try to be accepted by the East Egg societybut didnt work and his stint at illegal work costed him hiscredibility to ever prove his legitimacy as a businessman.
Thenoble intentions of his heart are not buffered by his actions,Gatsby truly understands the meaning of the AmericanDream, because he only wants happiness. Gatsbys noble goalat recapturing his true love is much more worthy than of eachof the other characters. Each of the main characters in thisstory can be categorized in two categories, the careless rich ofEast Egg and the hardworking dreamers of the West Egg.
Gatsbys route to attain happiness was purposeful while thewealthy are not. Gatsby used money to attain happiness whilethe rich used money to become more unsatisfied. Nick paints adistinct picture of these two types of people in his narrationthroughout the story, which he himself has a hard timegrasping since he sees himself slowly falling into the CarelessEast Egg Group, whom he disliked. The characters aredescribed in such great detail in relation to Gatsby it suggestsGatsbys superiority amongst all others in their futile attemptat the American Dream. The people of the East Egg livecarelessly as was shown when Daisy after coming home fromthe city indiscriminately ran over Myrtle without a secondthought as though she only saw Myrtle as a second class roadblock and not connect her to being the critical piece that wasrunning her marriage. This showed her overwhelmingconfidence that no matter how hard Myrtle tried to woo Tomthat she would never become his wife for she knew that Myrtlewas not rich and lacked the social grace which she had broughtup in.
Tom as well treats his mistress just as bad as was shownwhen on their trip with Myrtle. He slapped her for merelymaking fun of his wife. This shows a deep contradiction of thevalues of the rich.
Although they do such bad things they arestill able to separate the good from the bad and seem to haveno problem living that lie. This lie that the rich live by is thatthey are never happy with how they live. They always try tofind excitement in their life, by either doing a dangerousactivity or by buying something extravagant which they haveno need for. The excitement that Tom got by cheating on hiswife with Myrtle caused him to treasure Daisy much more. Itsthis contradiction, which Gatsby and Nick despise as wasshown in the confrontation between Gatsby and Tom at thehotel. Gatsby the humble man whose poor background taughthim to realize the importance of the small things in life soughtsomething more valuable than just mere thrills, but rather hesought true love in the form of one Daisy Buchanan. Heequated happiness with Love and that is why he became rich.
This pursuit is much more noble than that undertaken by eitherTom or Daisy Buchanan, for they used their money to do badthings and to hurt other people while the only person Gatsbyended up hurting was himself. His death bears a graveremembrance of true sacrifice really means. Gatsby showed hedidnt need his money and for his cause was directly for Daisyonly when the drunk idler of the library shown to Nick that allof Gatsbys books are still uncut.
Gatsby told Nick that he hadread all those books but was clearly a lie after the revelation.Gatsby knew this and didnt care for it was his love for Daisythat blinded him of the embarrassment of his contradictions.He braved embarrassment in order to win back Daisy and it isbecause of this that his intentions are shown to be clearlyThe pursuit of Daisys love shows Gatsbys determinationtoward a certain ideal.
Working hard towards a goal usuallyproduces favorable results. In the case of Gatsby, where socialclass plays a major role in him being rejected by Daisy hisignorance of social class distinction is best displayed. The samementality he used to become rich was the same one he used totry to win her back. Gatsby, the main character in this story, isby all respects a very ambitious, hard working dreamer whosespirit becomes crushed when his dreams meet reality. Duringthe story, Nick realizes that Gatsby is too is driven by hisoverwhelming obsession to recapture Daisy. Progressively,Nick begins to side with Gatsby in his quest for Daisys heart.
Gatsby’s whole efforts in this book are focused on trying tobring him and Daisy back to the point of time before he joinedthe army except this time he has enough money for her. Gatsbysays it himself on page 111, Can’t repeat the past? Why ofcourse you can! The notion that one can attain somethingonce lost can only be described as childish. During thetransition from childhood to adulthood brings with such lifechanging moments as puberty and love loss. These were madeto mature us physically, mentally, emotionally, and to makeone capable of dealing with the outside world. Gatsby hasshown he is a child when it comes to love and that is the whyhis relationship with Daisy was bound to fail. From the onset ofthe story they are two different places in their life mentally andemotionally.
She already had come to terms with the fact thatshow will never be able to rekindle the same love which onceburned hot for Gatsby and now goals to strengthen herrelationship with Tom. These childish characteristics, whichGatsby exhibits adds to his likeability and vulnerability. Theideal that love can with stand any type of pressure to live on isa pipedream, which Gatsby paid dearly for. The Green Light at the end of Daisys dock symbolizes theunreachable American Dream, because the requirements ofattaining it is to sell out ones self respect and morals. From thestart they took him for a fraud and thats all that he ended upbeing, because he never understood the true meaning of theAmerican Dream.
He mistook the meaning of success for beingwealthy and as a result he died having lived like one of theEast Eggers, whom he despised. Like the idle rich of East Egghe too accomplished nothing. His evolution as a man amountedto nothing more than a faded dream, because he never didaccomplish what he had set out to do, which was to win backthe heart of his one true love, Daisy. The prize for his successis similar to one who has made a deal with the devil in thesense that the reward is not worth the sacrifices made toBibliography: