In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses many repeated references to time in order to draw attention to the so-called “American Dream”, which is something Jay Gatsby sorely desires in this novel. Time is the most important motif in The Great Gatsby, the word itself appears 87 times! Gatsby is constantly striving to get back to that perfect moment in time is to recapture Daisy’s heart. These time references are expressed through all the literary techniques.
Some episodes which symbolize time are when Gatsby knocks over the clock and his list of famous party guests written on a timetable. Time itself is a dissolution, and therefore symbolizes the irony of the “American Dream”, another dissolution. As time passes, Gatsby and his aspirations for realizing this “Dream” seem to drift farther and farther apart.
Others in the novel are striving for this patriotic goal as well. Myrtle (who’s name is a noxious weed vine, that strives to climb) thinks she can find it through “love”; love of Tom Buchanan’s money. The yellow-gold car that killed her (gold representing riches) is really her passion for all things materialistic shattering her dream. George Wilson, probably the most honest character in the book, also thinks the answer to finding the dream is love, but real love; for Myrtle, and himself. When he thinks Gatsby has killed his love, he kills him and then himself, knowing that his version of the dream is unattainable.
Jay Gatsby threw extravagant parties in order to see Daisy, who never showed (But, then again neither did he). He peered out of his mansion, a mere copy of grandeur, and watched other dreamers pass their time.And as for time, the novel begins with the phrase: “In my younger and more vulnerable years…” and ends with “…borne bck ceaselessly into the past.” Both emphasize the ignificance of time. The only compliment Nick ever pays tsby shows how the American Dream is not so valid in theGreat Gatsby. As Nick is leaving Gatsby’s house, he shoutsfrom the lawn,”They’re a rotten crowd….you’re worth thewhole bunch put together.”
l in all, time has eroded all these characters’ perception
of the “American Dream”.