The Great Gatsby


The Great Gatsby Essay, Research Paper

Gatsby?s Hopes and Dreams for his Future

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald is recognized in American Literature as one of his greatest achievements. Many of Fitzgerald?s works research the Jazz-Age for the single American dream of happiness and wealth (Poupard, Person 146). ?Critics concur that The Great Gatsby rises above being a mere chronicle of a past American era, and most believe that the novel?s continued popularity demonstrates modern America?s fascination with the American dream? (Poupard, Person 147). In this book Fitzgerald uses Gatsby to compare the real American dreamer with what has become of the American society in the 1920?s. During the 1920?s America was unable to fulfill dreams and expose the blindness in Jazz-Age Americans. ?The Great Gatsby is an exploration of the American dream as it exists in a corrupt period, and it is an attempt to determine the concealed boundary that divides the reality from the illusions? (Bewley 38). Jay Gatsby is a builder as well as a dreamer, and Gatsby puts his all into figuring out his ?ethical dream? (Minter 82).

The Great Gatsby was written in a poor society with no moral virtues. Dreamers in a healthy society are respected and encouraged. However, in the twenties these people weren?t treated with the respect they deserved. ?Gatsby?s dream divides into three basic and related parts: the desire to repeat the past, the desire for money, and the desire for incarnation of ?unutterable visions? in the material earth? (Lockridge 11). In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby will do anything to fulfill his hopes and dreams. Gatsby does not fulfill his hopes and dreams in his lifetime.

No one knows where Gatsby comes from, what he does, or how he has become so wealthy. But in the middle of the novel Nick Carraway, the narrator discovers that Gatsby was born Jay Gatz in North Dakota. Gatsby also tell Carraway about his schooling. Gatsby says, ?I am the son of some wealthy people in the middle ? west ? all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition? (Fitzgerald 69). Gatsby also worked for a millionaire named Dan Cody. Cody is a gold miner, in Nevada. He becomes a millionaire through hard work, and a little luck. Cody illustrates the annihilation of the dreamer. While Gatsby is training to be an officer he falls in love with a woman named Daisy. She is a sardonic and cynical person. Gatsby falls in love with Daisy for her youth and her vitality. He also worshiped her social position, wealth, and

popularity. Daisy promised to wait for Gatsby till he came back from war but she didn?t. The reason Daisy wanted to wait to marry Gatsby was because he didn?t have a lot of money. Gatsby believes that he has a destiny with Daisy. In the course of the novel Carraway also finds that Gatsby earned his fortune through illegal criminal activity such as stealing.

Jay Gatz is a misfit in this society. Gatz is an extremely wealthy man living in a large residence in West Egg, New York. Gatz tries to fit into this world by purchasing expensive cars; high fashion garments, and furnishes his house with costly objects. Gatsby is known for his extravagant parties on Saturday nights. Gatsby has these parties in hope that he will make friends rather that just acquaintances. At those parties Gatsby?s house is full of parasites, busybody?s, and fools. However, he died alone. Nobody came to his funeral to pay respects to him and his father. However Jay Gatz will never become one of ?them?.

Gatsby is one of the richest men in New York. It has taken Gatsby almost five years to become a rich man. The reason Gatsby did this was to try and win Daisy over. Gatsby appears to be a flawed man, dishonest and vulgar. Nevertheless, Gatsby is ?great? because of his optimism and how he changes his dreams into a reality. Gatsby shows his optimism by taking his dream of being rich and turning it into a reality. He also shows optimism by trying to do what ever is necessary to try and win Daisy

Buchanan. Even though Gatsby doesn?t succeed in his dream of Daisy he never gives up trying.

The main part of Gatsby?s dreams deal with the past and the future. ?Gatsby, unlike the other Fitzgerald heroes, sacrifices his life on the alter of his dream, unaware that it is composed of the ephemeral stuff of the past?(Miller 20). Gatsby proves this by the criminal activities he was involved in. He sacrifices his life for the ?love of his life?, Daisy. Gatsby will go to any length to win this young woman that he is in love with. ?Thus the American dream, whose superstitious valuation of the future began in the past, gives the green light through which alone the American returns to his traditional roots, paradoxically retreating into the pattern of history while endeavoring to exploit the possibilities of the future? (Bewley 48). Gatsby doesn?t return to his roots, he continues on living a life that isn?t ?real?. No matter what happen to him, Gatsby stays in West Egg and continues living his life and trying to fit in. He hopes his future will be brighter than his past was.

?But the essence of the American Dream whose tragedy Gatsby is enacting is that it lives in a past and a future that never existed, and is helpless in the present that does?(Bewley 50). Gatsby lives in the past but strives for the future. However Gatsby doesn?t have a bright future. As for Gatsby?s present, it also doesn?t look promising. He has lost the one thing

that meant anything to him, which was the love of his life, Daisy to another man. Gatsby tries too much to impress his ?friends? by having parties and

spending money on frivolous items but he still remains an outcast in society.

Gatsby?s dreams also includes money and love. ?His own dream of wealth meant nothing in itself; he merely wanted to buy back the happiness he had lost ? Daisy, now the rich man?s wife ? when he had gone away to war? (Kazin 151). Gatsby?s dream was empty; all he wanted was to ?buy? back his happiness with Daisy. Now, Daisy was married to a rich man named Tom Buchanan. Buchanan is an arrogant but wealthy man. Gatsby doesn?t have a chance now to fulfill his most important dream of love with Daisy.

?Gatsby, the ?mythic? embodiment of the American Dream, is shown to us in all his immature romanticism. His insecure grasp of social and human values, his lack of critical intelligence and self ? knowledge, his blindness to the pitfalls that surround him in American society, his compulsive optimism, are realized in the text with rare assurance and understanding? (Bewley 53). Gatsby shows the reader his immature signs of romanticism by thinking that Daisy would wait for him to come back. He also shows it to us by trying to impress a woman with his money or lack

there of. Gatsby?s other big dream is to marry Daisy and he doesn?t fulfill this dream in his lifetime. After many years of trying to be the best he

could be and reach the top he is turned down by Daisy. Daisy decides that no matter how much money Gatsby has he will never be good enough for her.

Years of partying, and destroying dreams and dreamers, of driving recklessly onward without direction or responsibility had destroyed the neatly woven fabric of America. ?It is on this note of accommodation, of very modest dreams in light of the sobering realities of history, that The Great Gatsby ends? (Steinbrink 181). The Great Gatsby finishes on the idea that reality protrudes through the dreams of Jay Gatz. Gatsby doesn?t fulfill his hopes and dreams in his lifetime. ?In short, the novel embodies and expresses the simple, basic human desire and yearning, universal in nature, to snatch something precious from the ceaseless flux of days and years and preserve it outside the ravages of time? (Poupard, Person 147).

Bewley, Marius. ?Scott Fitzgerald?s Criticism of America.? In Twentieth

Century Interpretations of The Great Gatsby. Ed. Ernest Lockridge.

Englewood Cliffs: Prentice ? Hall, Inc. 1968. P.37 ? 53.

Fitzgerald, F.Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Simon & Schuster.

1992. P.5-189.

Kazin, Alfred. ?Into the Thirties: All the Lost Generations.? In Twentieth ?

Century Literary Criticism. Vol. 14. Detroit: Gale Research Company Book Tower. 1984. P.146 ? 181.

Lockridge, Ernest H. ?Introduction.? In Twentieth Century Interpretations

Of The Great Gatsby. Ed. Ernest Lockridge. Englewood Cliffs:

Prentice Hall, Inc. 1968. p. 1-18

Miller, James E. Jr. ?Boats Against the Current?. In Twentieth Century

Interpretations of The Great Gatsby. Ed. Ernest Lockridge.

Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, Inc. 1968. P.19 ? 36.

Minter, David L. ?Dreams, Design, and Interpretation in The Great

Gatsby.? In Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Great Gatsby.

Ed. Ernest Lockridge. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, Inc. 1968. P.

82 ?89

Person, James E Jr. and Poupard, Dennis. Twentieth ? Century Literary

Criticism. Vol. 14. Detroit: Gale Research Company Book Tower.

1984. P.146 ? 181.

Steinbrink, Jeffrey. ?Boats against the Current: Morality and the Myth of

Renewal in The Great Gatsby in Twentieth Century Literature?. In

Twentieth ? Century Literary Criticism. Vol. 14. Detroit: Gale

Research Company Book Tower. 1984. P. 146 ? 181.

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