The American Dream is a national ethos for the people of the United States in which they misinterpret the idea of attaining your own version of success no matter your history or current status. The American Dream, for most people was to experience success and wealth within their lives, but not everyone can achieve what they desire the most. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a book set during the Roaring 20s in a fictional city in Long Island, off the East Coast of the United States. The three main characters Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan and Nick Carraway each show a different interpretation for their American Dream throughout their own experiences.
Gatsby’s interpretation of the American Dream was that through any amounts of wealth and power… happiness will always be attained. Buchanan’s interpretation of the American Dream was to surround herself only amongst high quality material, to genuinely be wealthy, even if it does not make you actually happy with your life. However, Carraway’s interpretation of the American Dream was that your desires would never truly come about since you would never able to overcome your past, try to better yourself but remain meek.
Jay Gatsby is more so familiar as the fabulously wealthy young man who lives in a gothic like mansion in West Egg. From a young age, James Gatz or more commonlyprofoundly known as Jay Gatsby, had grown up on a farm in North Dakota and had worked for a millionaire for some time in his early ages. His background is of many mysteries only to be truly known by Nick Carraway.
‘It was a strange coincidence,’ I said.’But it wasn’t a coincidence at all’. ‘Why not?’ ‘Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.’ Then it had not been just the stars to which he had aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor. (Fitzgerald 78).
This shows how even though five years have passed since Gatsby was sent away to war and later on involved himself in business he believed he would win Daisy’s love back from Tom through maybe great amounts of money. Gatsby had made huge efforts to be this close to Daisy and doesn’t want to blow his chance to be with his former lover again. This helped influence his mentality to achieve wealthiness in his life. His interpretation of the American Dream really kicked off with the first appearance of the green light.
‘I decided to call to him. Miss Baker had mentioned him at dinner, and that would do for an introduction. But I didn’t call to him, for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone’ he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward’ and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness. (Fitzgerald 20-21)
From this we can see that Gatsby believed the greenlight situated at the end of Daisy’s East Egg dock was all of Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. This shows how Jay Gatsby felt that he had a spectacular vision ahead after seeing the greenlight as it motivated him to try and relive part of his dreams with Daisy once more.
Daisy Buchanan is represented as one of the more determined characters who chased after high quality material and money. Tom and Daisy’s common denominator was money and an upper class position in society. Daisy did not marry Gatsby even though they were in love because he was a poor man. Daisy not capable of loving again, turned to chase somebody else’s wealth. Money might not make you happy, but it definitely doesn’t hurt.
In June she married Tom Buchanan of Chicago with more pomp and circumstances than Louisville ever knew before. He came down with a hundred people in four private cars and hired a whole floor of the Seelbach Hotel, and the day before the wedding he gave her a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars. (Fitzgerald 75-76)
This proves very well how the pearls or money generally made her marriage with Tom better and how she didn’t marry him exactly for his persona. Keeping in mind that Tom and Daisy Buchanan are known as having old money because it was inherited and never worked for by them. This connects back to Gatsby as a few moments later Daisy has an encounter with his mansion, Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. ‘They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such-such beautiful shirts before.’ (Fitzgerald 92) This quote tells us how Daisy is extremely materialistic, even though Tom and Daisy are wealthy, Gatsby is very over-the-top as he practically is showing off everything he has gained which really catches Daisy’s attention. Daisy’s reason for her cries over the shirts is because by the time she reaches Gatsby’s bedroom she is overwhelmed with the man that he had become, shown very distinctly based on his new wealth. Daisy can no longer contain her emotions with where Gatsby’s life has taken him five years later. Daisy is a good person indeed, but from what we have seen she seems to just be taking advantage of whoever has more money.
Nick Carraway, by far the more deferential amongst all of the other people that live in both East and West Egg. Mr. Carraway comes from a family that by far worked very hard and got little in return, but this only built Nick’s interesting/rare character into the story as he is perceived as the more standard Aamerican man living in the United States. I have an idea that Gatsby himself did not believe it would come, and perhaps he no longer cared. If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. (Fitzgerald 161) Nick presumes that the American Dream is inanimate as you cannot overcome your past. This refers back to Nick’s past as he was raised in a lower class family which makes him believe he will never be as equal as the people of East Egg. Nick Carraway doesn’t have an actual American Dream, instead he has just thoughts of what could possibly be. Alongside this, Nick seems to focus on Gatsby towards the end of the story more than he would of himself as he states, But all this part of it seemed remote and unessential. I found myself on Gatsby’s side and alone. (Fitzgerald 164) This quote sums up Nick’s outlook as it shows that Gatsby is only safe from Nick’s growing resentment. Nick is in pure disgust for all the other upper class for what happened to Jay Gatsby. Nick Carraway was by far the responsible type of man in this story, he always kept it realistic with everybody which is why he chooses the people that he would want to be surrounded by despite his non-wealth compared to others.
The American Dream is a national ethos for the people of the United States in which they misinterpret the idea of attaining your own version of success no matter your history or current status. Within the story, each character played a certain role in their own road to the American Dream whether it actually happened for them or not. At the end neither Tom or Gatsby really get Daisy, she kind of just took in all of the attention that she was getting and was satisfied enough with that. However, somebody like Nick Carraway did get a certain American Dream, to help others out even when you are not at your best. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was a book set during the Roaring 20s in a fictional city in Long Island, off the East Coast of the United States that was focused a lot on accomplishing the American Dream aside from protecting those you loved the most.
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