The American Dream Essay, Research Paper
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is about reliving a dream, and the downfall of those who attempt to reach its
illusionary goals. This dream is different for different people, but in this novel, for Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, and Myrtle Wilson their
dream is to acquire happiness through wealth and power. To get happiness he tries to reach into the past and relive an old dream, and in order to succeed he feels he must use wealth and power even if
they are gained illegally.
Jay Gatsby, the central figure of the story, is one character who longs for the past. Sadly, he devotes a good part of his adult life
trying to recapture it and he finally dies pursuing it. In the past, Gatsby had a love affair with the rich and affluent Daisy. Feeling that
he could not marry her because of their different social status, he leaves her to gain his wealth so he can then reach her economic standards. Once he acquires this wealth through illegal organized
crime connections, he moves near to Daisy. Gatsby throws extravagant parties at his house which is described as “a colossal affair by any standard-it was a factual imitation of some Hotel De Ville
in Normandy” (p. 9), hoping by chance that she might show up at one of them. He does not attend his own parties, but instead watches them from a distance. When this dream doesn’t happen, he asks
around casually if anyone knows Daisy. Soon he meets Nick Carraway, a cousin of Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting even though Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan. Jay is a bit disappointed that Daisy is not the same as he remembered her, but he still wants
and tries to relive the past. Later, as we see in the Plaza Hotel, Jay still believes that Daisy loves him. He is convinced of this and he proceeds to take the blame for Myrtle’s death in a car accident to
protect Daisy. He also spends countless hours waiting and watching to protect Daisy as she returns home. Jay has a very difficult time accepting that the past is gone and done. He is sure that he can capture his dream with wealth and influence. He believes that his
reasons are true and selfless, and that this should guarantee success.
In this novel, Daisy Buchanan came from a world of wealth, but couldn’t retain it because she was a woman, so she had to marry into money, and that’s why she married Tom Buchanan. Daisy was a very
loving wife to him, always did what she was told or asked of her, and never once complained. She would go about her day shopping, reading or wandering around the house. Daisy was very protective of her husband, and worried every time she could not find him, at social gatherings. Daisy was not a stupid woman, she knew of Tom’s love affair, but said nothing because she was afraid that if she spoke up about it, she would lose Tom and all of his money and she would
have no where to go. As time goes on and she finds out that Gatsby still loves her, she becomes less involved with Tom and more involved with Gatsby, showing Tom that he isn’t the only man in her life that has money and can take her of her. In the end, Gatsby love for Daisy, and him trying to protect her kills him.
Also, there is another person in this novel that thinks that money is what makes you a good person and lets you have everything you want without any guilt. This person’s name is none other than Myrtle Wilson. She see’s Tom as a man of his word and
thinks that he loves her. When Myrtle first saw Tom at the train station in his suit and tie, she thought that if you had money and you dressed well then you had to be the best person in the world, which turned out to be wrong because he is cheating on his wife with Myrtle, and countless other woman that neither of them know about, and not telling them the truth about each other. So all that Myrtle means to Tom is someone to go to when things get to crazy at home, or when
he feels lonely and Daisy isn’t home to help him.
This central idea is very common in society today. People strive towards a goal to accumulate money and possessions. Many sacrifice their values and morals to achieve whatever it is they desire.
Fortunately or unfortunately, money is what makes the world go round, so long live the “American Dream”.