Untitled Essay Research Paper Adam Cohen

Untitled Essay, Research Paper

Adam Cohen

“Gatsby’s Dream”

Jay Gatsby, the central character of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great

Gatsby symbolizes the American dream. The American dream offers faith in

the possibility of a better life. Its attendant illusion is the belief that

material wealth alone can bring that dream to fruition. Through Gatsby,

Fitzgerald brings together both these ideas. Jay Gatsby thinks money is the

answer to anything he encounters. He has the best of everything. The fanciest

car, the largest house, and the finest clothes. Jay has everything except

the object he most desires, Daisy. Gatsby believes he can win Daisy over

with wealth, that he could achieve the ideal she stood for through his material


One look at Gatsby’s past and it could be seen that he was destined

to get ahead in life. Mr. Gatz told Nick, “Jimmy was bound to get ahead.

He always had some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what he’s

got about improving his mind? He was always great for that. He told me I

et like a hog once and I beat him for it” (182). Gatsby’s determination

to gain a large bankroll is a huge part of the American dream. He believes

that once he achieved his financial goal it would lead to a better life.

In America the car is one of the greatest status symbols. Gatsby’s gorgeous

machine is one of the most majestic cars created. Nick’s comments on

the vehicle describe its luster, “…and there in its monstrous length

with triumphant hatboxes and supper-boxes and tool-boxes…Sitting down behind

many layers of glass in a sort of leather conservatory we started towards

town” (68). The use of the symbolic automobile can be seen as a

demonstration of how an ideal based on materialism alone can be destructive.

This was the fatal car which kills Myrtle Wilson and indirectly leads to

Gatsby’s death.

Appearance is another important factor toward Gatsby’s dream. In his

quest to win Daisy’s heart Gatsby chooses to wear his best outfit.

“…the front door opened nervously and Gatsby in a white flannel suit,

silver shirt and gold colored tie hurried in” (89). Silver and gold

are the colors of wealth, Gatsby’s sartorial splendor is as lavish as

any of the other items he owns. Gatsby’s shirts are more then just garments

towards Gatsby. They are some of the many fascinating objects he possesses

that were created by money. These shirts contribute towards Gatsby’s

vision of the American dream, that his money and belongings will create happiness

for him.

Another major object of Gatsby’s dream was his incredible house. Jay

states to Nick and Daisy, “My house looks well, doesn’t it? See

how the whole front of it catches the light” (95). Jay gave Nick and

Daisy the grand tour of his house showing of all of his worldly possessions.

Room after room, everything was shown and mentioned. At the sight of his

piles and piles of shirts Daisy broke down. “They’re such beautiful

shirts, it makes me sad because I’ve never seen such–such beautiful

shirts before” (98). Jay Gatsby’s ideals were parallel to the typical

American dream. He wants to claim his objective by the use of his assets.

He thinks that his money will give him happiness in life through love and

his personal belongings.

Even the richest man in the world can’t have everything. Material wealth

could provide many things for Jay Gatsby but not the thing he most desired.

Although his wealth drew Daisy closer to him, he never truly could have possessed

her heart. He demanded Daisy to state that she had never loved Tom Buchanan.

“Oh, you want too much!” she cried to Gatsby, “I love you

now–isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past. I did love

him once–but I loved you too.” (139-140). Jay’s true love still

remained with her uncaring husband, Tom. Jay Gatsby’s dream was smashed

when he found out that even all of his assets weren’t enough to woo

Daisy to him.

Jay Gatsby’s belief in the American dream keep him from realizing reality.

He believes that if he worked hard enough and made enough money that he could

have anything. He wants to perceive the world as a place where sufficient

wealth would enable him to recapture and recreate the past he desired with

Daisy. Gatsby began planning for his dream when he was young. This can be

seen from his journal he wrote as a young man which was discovered by Mr.

Gatz. His attempt to accomplish his dream with cars and shirts could not

have been successful. The American dream canno


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