Texts can be valued and appreciated for numerous reasons, and this is particularly apparent in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. The novel is a great part of 20th century literature and is valued for the themes and ideas which Fitzgerald presents, such as the importance of dreams in peoples’ lives, the myth that is the ‘American Dream’, Fitzgerald’s perspective of 1920’s life, and the style in which he portrays his ideas. It is also valued simply as a love story – as an entertaining narrative.
In The Great Gatsby, dreams and their importance play a major part in the plot and underlying themes. It is seen that Gatsby himself presents this idea the most; this is because Gatsby is different to all the other characters in the novel as he actually has a dream – to “improve himself” which he hopes will eventually win back Daisy’s love. “… An extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person…”
The reader learns that Gatsby has had dreams and ambitions his entire life, while his parents had none; Gatsby was not fond of this characteristic found in his parents. His goals and aspirations made him who he was and he realised that he was different to his parents in this way. He left his home, his mother and father at a young age and was described as a “son of God.” Gatsby disconnected himself from his parents and created his own identity as God created people.
Gatsby’s dream is symbolised by the green light on the end of Daisy’s dock, across the river from his house, and represents his desire for Daisy.
Nick (narrator the story) admires this quality in Gatsby and excuses all his faults because of his hopes and dreams. In the end, Gatsby dies in pursuit of his dreams and Nick says, “No – Gatsby turned out alright at the end; it was what prayed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams.”
Nick, unlike the other characters, doesn’t have any goals or aspirations. He doesn’t have high expectations, and is comfortable with the way he lives his life. However, the other characters, Jordan, Daisy, Tom and Myrtle, are not happy with what they already have, and only have goals that are short-term, and are often self-centered and concerned with money.
The people attending Gatsby’s parties also appear to be materialistic and without ambitions. They go through life without directions or dreams; they were “wanderers” and “gypsies” who often weren’t even invited to the parties, whereas Nick was actually invited.
The parties continue this theme as they take on dream-like qualities. This is seen in Nick’s descriptions, which are very colourful, “blue gardens” and “yellow cocktail music” which helps them resemble dreams. There are constant references to dreams, such as his description of the moonlight, “Whisperings and champagne and the stars” and “the Earth lurches away from the sun” as well as comparisons, which all give the impression that the parties are just a dream or an...