When reading The Great Gatsby, the audience must wonder at F. Scott Fitzgerald’s purpose for writing one of America’s most influential novels. Fitzgerald’s life drew remarkable similarities to that of Jay Gatsby. They both sacrificed and succeeded in the name of love, but were ultimately disappointed.
Fitzgerald drew on his personal experience to artfully weave a tale of love, lust, and fortune, all centered around the ever elusive green light. That dream that cannot be reached. That hope that can never die. And unless the reader looks closely, he or she will miss the purpose of The Great Gatsby: to highlight the foolishness of this clichéd American dream.
This novel was set in the 1920s, ...view middle of the document...
Ironically, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom, condemn those who openly flaunt their wealth. The Buchanan’s represent an entirely different American dream. This couple was born into money, and they wield their wealth with a practiced, yet careless hand. Nothing holds value to them because everything can be bought. Each of them holds him or herself to a different standard. For example, Tom has a flagrant affair with a woman in New York, but he demands absolute obedience from Daisy. On the outside, they are the perfect American couple, but this carefully manicured facade masks deep-seated marital problems.
As the novel progresses, both Nick and the reader are disillusioned about the seemingly unobtainable green light, which Fitzgerald cleverly uses as a symbol of the America dream. Nick watches as Gatsby tailors his entire life, not to happiness, but to the pursuit of happiness. He is so intent on reliving his past relationship with Daisy, that he cannot enjoy what he has. Even when he eventually rekindles his romance with Daisy, he suffocates both of them with his expectations. Nick commented on their first afternoon together,
“There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time, decking it out with every bright feather that drifted his way” (Fitzgerald 101).
In his desperation to immortalize his fling with Daisy, he forgot all of her flaws and exaggerated her attributes in his mind. His mind eventually confused the perfect, fictional...