The Roaring 20’s was a time of celebration, but to many the 20’s were instead seen as a decade of decadence. Many wealthy people lived reckless and careless lives, not caring about anything but the next party or social function. In Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, the narrator, Nick Carroway, observes the greedy, selfish behavior of the rich. This uninhibited view into others soul’s causes Nick to lose faith in mankind until he met Jay Gatsby, the mysterious man who this novel is written about.
What made Gatsby so different from the average American? To answer this question, one must observe, through Nick Carroway’s eyes, Gatsby’s hopeful yet tragic dream, personality, and how he kept his dream alive. “Wearing the gold hat and bouncing high” (1), may seem like the ultimate lifestyle to most, but to Gatsby this wasn’t. Gatsby’s dream was not to be successful, but to instead obtain his obsession (Daisy) and have her “cry lover, gold-hatted, high bouncing lover, I must have you” (1).
The money, cars, fancy house, and parties were never for imself; rather they were what he thought would lead Daisy to love him, in turn achieving his dream. The tragic truth for Gatsby was that without all the money he would be just a “nobody from nowhere” (137), to Daisy. Although to the outside world it looked like Gatsby had everything; his dream was never truly achieved. Interestingly enough this was also the case with the author, Fitzgerald, who also lived the high life in order to gain the affection of his wife, Zelda, even though it was not what made him happy.
In order to obtain dreams, one must be careful, thoughtful, and inspired. This is not the case for the many of the established Americans. “Careless, smashing up things and then retreating back into their money or their vast carelessness and letting other people clean up the mess they had made… ”(187,188). This is the general opinion Nick held of the wealthy, but Gatsby was different. Gatsby didn’t take everything for granted. He had worked very hard to get where he was, which made him a very real person in an nsincere, indifferent world.
Gatsby also chose not to drink, so that his thinking was cold and clear. Instead of being careless and reckless, Gatsby chose to think and plan for the future, which helped to keep his dream alive, and gave him direction. Even when James Gatz was just a boy, he knew he wanted to be wealthy and established. After meeting Daisy and losing her, it just added fuel to the fire. Gatsby went to great lengths to keep his dream alive. Jay Gatsby himself was created by Gatz to please Daisy.
Gatsby also strategically moved across the lake from Daisy and threw big parties in hopes that she would “wander in with the crowd” (84). It also can be assumed that Gatsby’s friendship with Nick (which did lead him back to Daisy) was also planned. The ending to this book is not the happy fairy tale that one would expect. Instead Gatsby’s unfulfilled life was cut short by the careless and reckless ways of others. In conclusion, Gatsby’s life was great, but somewhat tragic because while he stayed with his dream to the end, he wasn’t alive to achieve it.