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The Great Gatsby : The American Dream

Essay by review  •  December 19, 2010  •  Essay  •  790 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,389 Views

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Perception and reality do not always align. Is true love really true love, or is it a farce, a self-created mythical re-interpretation of the thing we hold so dear? In The Great Gatsby, is Gatsby really in love with Daisy, or his vision of her? Does she feel the same way for him, or does she truly love him? And what does the green light at the end of Daisy's dock mean to Gatsby?

As Gatsby falls in love with Daisy, Nick is slightly intrigued by this almost improbable match. How can a determined, wealthy man fall in love with a woman so shallow that she wishes her daughter to "be a fool ... a beautiful little fool." (p. 17)? To everyone else, it's obvious that Daisy is extremely shallow, but to Gatsby, she's the most beautiful woman with the perfect personality: the American Dream, so to speak. So what is he in love with? The Dream, or 'the Daisy?' The Dream, of course. The 'Daisy' he sees is a complete figment of his imagination, a part of his own personal American Dream, one that he's striving to have a little piece of.

In the beginning of chapter one, we are shown a Gatsby in the middle of one of his weakest moments, when his guard is completely let down and his game face is off. He is looking out across the sea, and had "stretched his arms toward the ... water ... I glanced seaward--and distinguished nothing except a single green light ... far away ..." (p. 21) Obviously, the green light is Daisy's dock, but is it Daisy that the light symbolizes to him? Or is it, again, his version of Daisy, his own personalized vision of what he wants her to be: a part of his Dream to be sought after. He's got the money, the big house, parties every Friday with hundreds of people, but all of this is for the final piece of the pie: a girl. This is especially more impactful because his money (or lack thereof) was the reason he never was able to get with Daisy in the first place.

This brings about another face of the argument: does this apply to Daisy as well? Daisy had been pressured to reject Jay Gatsby back during the war since he was a soldier, and short of money. Daisy came from old money, and didn't see Gatsby as a suitable mate for her solely on his monetary status. But now that Gatsby's 'all grown up' and rich, Daisy's suddenly in love again.

Daisy falls for the same shallowness that Gatsby does. She doesn't love Gatsby for who he is--she does like him for his personality, partly, but it's mostly because he has the money now, and is therefore much more qualified to be with her. Daisy really doesn't want to be with Tom, for example, "I'd

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