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Gatsby's American Dream

Essay by   •  May 26, 2017  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,221 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,128 Views

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The American Dream was a highly sought after goal in the 1920's by Americans, and immigrants who had recently come to America. While the American Dream is defined as "The ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative", it can still mean very different things to different people. A perfect example of this is shown in The Great Gatsby by several character's personal American Dream. Myrtle wishes to become a part of the upper class by having a relationship with Tom and leeching off of him to move up in the world. Daisy believes that she has everything she could ever want, as she had wealth, love, and happiness, but realizes that she has nothing because she married for money, and not for love. Gatsby's dream is to have Daisy and be in the exact relationship that he had with her five years ago, but in perusing this dream, he is eventually destroyed. Out of all of the characters in The Great Gatsby, Gatsby worked the hardest to achieve his version of the American Dream.

Jay Gatsby is the living embodiment of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby. When he is a young boy, James Gatz, which was his original name, grew with a very poor family which lived in North Dakota on a farm. He left his poor family and eventually met a very rich drunkard and womanizer, by the name of Dan Cody. It was from Dan that Gatsby learned everything he knew, from being a civilized man, to what not to do, such as getting drunk, and even changed his name to Jay Gatsby. Dan eventually died and while Gatsby was left his inheritance, he was cheated of it by one of Dan's former mistresses, and was once again poor. Gatsby joined the army during the time of World War One, but while he was stationed in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1917, he met a young woman by the name of Daisy Fay, and his true dream had begun. He falls in love with Daisy as soon as he meets her, and she is forever a part of his American Dream from that moment on. Nick even says "His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy's white face came up to his own. He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips' touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete."(Fitzgerald 110-111). Gatsby went to war and he and Daisy made a promise to wait for each other after the war was be over. When the war was finally over, however, Gatsby wanted to wait longer so he could build himself up and be worthy of Daisy as he knew she wouldn't be able to marry a poor man. Unluckily for Gatsby, Daisy was already engaged to a rich man named Tom Buchanan, a untrustworthy and abusive man, and the two were eventually wed. From the time he is out of the war, to his death, Jay Gatsby's only goal in life is to achieve his dream.

In order to gain the wealth he needs in to be suitable for Daisy, Gatsby comes into contact with a man named Meyer Wolfsheim with whom he proceeds to make most of his fortune from selling liquor illegally and other illegal business. Gatsby proceeds to put himself, his name, and others at risk just so that he can have a chance at being with Daisy. Once his fortune is built up, everything Gatsby does with his money is for Daisy. He buys a mansion in West Egg, right across the bay from Daisy's house, just so that he can be near to her. At the end of Daisy's East Egg Dock is a green light which is barely visible from Gatsby's home which represents everything that Gatsby is trying to achieve and all of his hopes and dreams of being with Daisy. In chapter one of The Great Gatsby, Nick sees Gatsby at the end of his dock and says that "he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I



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