Untitled Essay, Research Paper
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
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
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