The Great Gatsby written by F Scott Fitzgerald in 1920’s illustrates the failure in striving for the American Dream. What he failed to understand was that Daisy and he lived in two different worlds, which because of social circumstance was never allowed to intermingle. Daisy was a rich southern belle, who became involved with Gatsby when they were still young and later rejected him, because he was too poor to marry her and in his place married Tom Buchanan, a rich abusive man who ended up cheating on her.
From the start they took him for a fraud and that’s all that he ended up being, because he never understood the true meaning of the American Dream. He mistook the meaning of success for being wealthy and as a result he died having lived like one of the East Eggers, whom he despised. Like the idle rich of East Egg he too accomplished nothing. His evolution as a man amounted to nothing more than a faded dream, because he never did accomplish what he had set out to do, which was to win back the heart of his one true love, Daisy.
The prize for his success is similar to one who has made a deal with the devil in the sense that the reward is not worth the sacrifices made to attain it. Gatsby is a man whose delusions of achieving the American Dream is corrupted by the basis on which he strives for it. American Dream consists of becoming rich through hard work and determination through legal means. Gatsby’s poor background didn’t afford him to take the straight and narrow path through life, so instead he chose to make his money by working for the mob.
After leaving the Army he met this rich drunk named Cody who employed him as a worker on his boat. He ended up befriending Cody in hopes of inheriting his fortune. He never inherited his fortune, but instead from this experience he learned that drinking could ruin a man’s dream of success. From this point in his history he becomes clouded in an air of mystery leaving the reader to only speculate how he became involved with the mob. According to his neighbors people are in and out of his house at all hours of the day.
And sometimes some notorious mobsters were spotted gathered around his place in what were thought to be mob meetings. He was a notorious figure linked to scandals as the 1913 World Series and the numerous drugs stores/ bootlegging shop, which afforded him the mansion of West Egg. The main character of this story, Jay Gatsby whose rags to riches history brings with him much scrutiny that revealed the truth behind his rise to success. His sudden move to West Egg where no one knew him caused much suspicion amongst his well to do neighbors.
The contradiction in the lies that he told made East Eggers further their suspicion; along with the fact that such obscure details about his tenure at Oxford were left to the imagination and his overuse of the phrase ‘Old Sport’ made him look ridiculous. Rumors about Gatsby’s notorious past hovered over his parties like a dark cloud hindering his social progress to make friends with his neighbors. One of Gatsby’s many contradictions was that he read all the books in his study when according to the idle drunk were still uncut.
His overuse the word ‘old sport’ is used by Tom at the end of the book in his confrontation with Gatsby to show his falseness. He tried to hide his poor past to try to be accepted by the East Egg society but didn’t work and his stint at illegal work costed him his credibility to ever prove his legitimacy as a businessman. The noble intentions of his heart are not buffered by his actions, which are immoral. Gatsby truly understands the meaning of the “American Dream”, because he only wants happiness. Gatsby’s noble goal at recapturing his true love is much more worthy than of each of the other characters’.
Each of the main characters in this story can be categorized in two categories, the careless rich of East Egg and the hardworking dreamers of the West Egg. Gatsby’s route to attain happiness was purposeful while the wealthy are not. Gatsby used money to attain happiness while the rich used money to become more unsatisfied. Nick paints a distinct picture of these two types of people in his narration throughout the story, which he himself has a hard time grasping since he sees himself slowly falling into the Careless East Egg Group, whom he disliked.
The characters are described in such great detail in relation to Gatsby it suggests Gatsby’s superiority amongst all others in their futile attempt at the American Dream. The people of the East Egg live carelessly as was shown when Daisy after coming home from the city indiscriminately ran over Myrtle without a second thought as though she only saw Myrtle as a second class road block and not connect her to being the critical piece that was running her marriage.
This showed her overwhelming confidence that no matter how hard Myrtle tried to woo Tom that she would never become his wife for she knew that Myrtle was not rich and lacked the social grace which she had brought up in. Tom as well treats his mistress just as bad as was shown when on their trip with Myrtle. He slapped her for merely making fun of his wife. This shows a deep contradiction of the values of the rich. Although they do such bad things they are still able to separate the good from the bad and seem to have no problem living that lie.
This lie that the rich live by is that they are never happy with how they live. They always try to find excitement in their life, by either doing a dangerous activity or by buying something extravagant which they have no need for. The excitement that Tom got by cheating on his wife with Myrtle caused him to treasure Daisy much more. It’s this contradiction, which Gatsby and Nick despise as was shown in the confrontation between Gatsby and Tom at the hotel.
Gatsby the humble man whose poor background taught him to realize the importance of the small things in life sought something more valuable than just mere thrills, but rather he sought true love in the form of one Daisy Buchanan. He equated happiness with Love and that is why he became rich. This pursuit is much more noble than that undertaken by either Tom or Daisy Buchanan, for they used their money to do bad things and to hurt other people while the only person Gatsby ended up hurting was himself. His death bears a grave remembrance of true sacrifice really means.
Gatsby showed he didn’t need his money and for his cause was directly for Daisy only when the drunk idler of the library shown to Nick that all of Gatsby’s books are still uncut. Gatsby told Nick that he had read all those books but was clearly a lie after the revelation. Gatsby knew this and didn’t care for it was his love for Daisy that blinded him of the embarrassment of his contradictions. He braved embarrassment in order to win back Daisy and it is because of this that his intentions are shown to be clearly noble. The pursuit of Daisy’s love shows Gatsby’s determination toward a certain ideal.
Working hard towards a goal usually produces favorable results. In the case of Gatsby, where social class plays a major role in him being rejected by Daisy his ignorance of social class distinction is best displayed. The same mentality he used to become rich was the same one he used to try to win her back. Gatsby, the main character in this story, is by all respects a very ambitious, hard working dreamer whose spirit becomes crushed when his dreams meet reality. During the story, Nick realizes that Gatsby is too is driven by his overwhelming obsession to recapture Daisy.
Progressively, Nick begins to side with Gatsby in his quest for Daisy’s heart. Gatsby’s whole efforts in this book are focused on trying to bring him and Daisy back to the point of time before he joined the army except this time he has enough money for her. Gatsby says it himself on [page 111], ‘“Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can! ” The notion that one can attain something once lost can only be described as childish. During the transition from childhood to adulthood brings with such life changing moments as puberty and love loss.
These were made to mature us physically, mentally, emotionally, and to make one capable of dealing with the outside world. Gatsby has shown he is a child when it comes to love and that is the why his relationship with Daisy was bound to fail. From the onset of the story they are two different places in their life mentally and emotionally. She already had come to terms with the fact that show will never be able to rekindle the same love which once burned hot for Gatsby and now goals to strengthen her relationship with Tom.
These childish characteristics, which Gatsby exhibits adds to his likeability and vulnerability. The ideal that love can with stand any type of pressure to live on is a pipedream, which Gatsby paid dearly for. The Green Light at the end of Daisy’s dock symbolizes the unreachable American Dream, because the requirements of attaining it is to sell out ones self respect and morals. From the start they took him for a fraud and that’s all that he ended up being, because he never understood the true meaning of the American Dream.
He mistook the meaning of success for being wealthy and as a result he died having lived like one of the East Eggers, whom he despised. Like the idle rich of East Egg he too accomplished nothing. His evolution as a man amounted to nothing more than a faded dream, because he never did accomplish what he had set out to do, which was to win back the heart of his one true love, Daisy. The prize for his success is similar to one who has made a deal with the devil in the sense that the reward is not worth the sacrifices made to attain it.