Great Gatsby - Seeking the Unattainable Dream
What is the American Dream? America has evolved from an infant, struggling, nation to become a world power through its unprecedented economic growth. Driven by the tenets of independence, self reliance, and freedom, Americans have had the opportunity to pursue economic success. To many, this is the American Dream; to have freedom and the opportunity to pursue financial freedom. To others, such as Gatsby, Walter, and Jake, the American dream is happiness. They are driven by their dreams, seeking what they believe will make them happy. Gatsby and Jake seek happiness through love while Walter seeks happiness through money. The belief that bliss, utopia, and tranquility are within their grasps drives these characters. Yet the mere fact that their dreams are unattainable makes them flawed. Without dreams, Gatsby, Walter, and Jake lose their sense of purpose in life. Thus the pursuit of the American dream is a paradox. Achieving it is impossible, but without it, life will lose its purpose. Gatsby, Walter, and Jake are representations of the American dream because the love and happiness they seek are impossible to obtain.
The birth of the desire for the happiness and love of the American dream in Gatsby occurred when he met a man named Dan Cody. After his disgust with college, Gatsby sought a new life. He found the promise of his fame and fortune in Dan Cody's yacht. "To young Gatz, resting on his oars and looking up at the railed deck, that yacht represented all the beauty and glamour in the world" (Fitzgerald 106). As soon as he borrowed the row boat that transported him to the yacht, Gatsby was no longer James Gatz, he had became Gatsby, instilling in himself a naïve view on life that paved the road for his blind adherence to his later pursuit of Daisy.
With the row boat symbolizing his decision and the name change symbolizing the change of identity that Gatsby sought, the American dream was born within him. As he discarded his name and roots, Gatsby lost his grip on reality. "Gatsby conforms to an ideal of himself that transforms reality into possibility. This audacity and disregard for ties binding him to his own past is his apprenticeship for loving Daisy" (Hermanson 2) Consequently, Gatsby lived in a dream world that was dominated by illusions. For Gatsby, the importance of money had been planted, and later on it would grow, as Gatsby's disillusionment brings him to pursue Daisy in vain. Thus the desire for happiness and love inherent in the American dream was defined. Gatsby would spend his life pursuing Daisy, an impossible goal because of Gatsby's identity and his adherence to the creed that money can make up for time.
After Cody's death, Gatsby fell in love with Daisy. From then on Gatsby resolutely decides that he would spend the rest of his life proving that he is worthy of Daisy through financial...