School Papers

The in America. In the book The Great

The American Dream is the idea or concept that any person regardless of race, ethnicity, social status or gender can be successful in America. In the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the American Dream is portrayed immensely in the concept that many characters in the book are striving for success but also challenges it. The main character in the book, Jay Gatsby, is one of the most important example and symbol of somebody trying to achieve the American Dream in the book.  ” A dead man passed us in a hearse heaped with blooms, followed by two carriages with drawn blinds and by more cheerful carriages for friends. The friends looked out at us with the same tragic eyes and short upper lips of the south-eastern Europe, and I was glad that the sight of Gatsby’s splendid car was included in their somber holiday. As we crossed Blackwell’s island a limousine passed us, driven by a white chauffeur, in which sat three modish negroes, two bucks and a girl. I laughed aloud as the folks as the yolks of their eyeballs rolled toward us in haughty rivalry” (55-6). This quotation shows how early in the novel the American Dream is being portrayed with the different ethnicities being showed in New York City all around.  Jay Gatsby is one of those people trying to achieve a dream. At first it was the idea of being successful and wealthy which later turns into being successful and wealthy for Daisy. His goal in the book was to impress and be everything Daisy wanted Jay Gatsby to be.  Nick’s first viewing of Jay Gatsby in the story is an important symbol and concept for the rest of the story; ” But I didn’t call to him for he gave a sudden imitation that he was content to be alone—he stretched his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was for him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glared seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, a minute far away, that might have been the end of a dock.” The green light has an important significance early in the book and as well as later. In this first chapter, Gatsby is reaching out for the green light which is symbolizing his dream, Daisy, who is accessible but not quite in there for him to be able to reach and have close at hand.  The symbol of the green light appears again in chapter 5; “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” said Gatsby “You always have that green light that burns all night at the end of your dock. Daisy put her arm through his abruptly but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished one by one”(87-88). The light is portrayed a lot differently now because the green light, which is Daisy, is now in his possession and is in reach. Gatsby’s “American Dream” starts to become vivid in this chapter, and is believing that he is achieving his goal that he has had for so long and has been engaging for; “He had passed visibly through two states and was entering upon his third. After his embarrassment and his unreasoning joy, he was consumed with wonder at her presence. He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an overwound clock (84). “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 turning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.” This is a very promising moment for Gatsby and now has a mindset that he has Daisy to himself away from Tom. With that mindset, Gatsby wanted to make it clear once and for all and try to allure Daisy permanently; “Your wife doesn’t love you,” said Gatsby. “She’s never loved you. She loves me” (138). From this point on, Gatsby’s American Dream slowly starts to crumble and becomes unachievable. Gatsby’s had put an insane amount of strain and tension on Daisy to be what he wanted them to be. Daisy had a luxurious life made up for her that she did not want to give away so easily. Although she loved Gatsby, she loved Tom as well.   The last time the green light is in the story and mentioned by it symbolism is in chapter 9; “And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fall to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in the obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…And one fine morning—So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” (152-154). This is very important analysis because the significance is that there is no longer a symbol for the green light because nobody is reaching for it anymore.  In conclusion, Fitzgerald made the idea and concept of the American dream achievable but extremely challenged for everyone in the book to meet their goal.