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The Great Gatsby, By F. Scott Fitzgerald: In Pursuit Of A Dream

2306 words - 9 pages

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...And one fine morning--So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." (189) The most prominent theme of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is of dreams. Every character is ceaselessly chasing the American Dream, whatever their interpretation of that dream is. Attempting to mold themselves into individuals that might satisfy their idealistic society, they cannot realize much of what one reading The Great Gatsby today can see. Their ultimate carelessness resulting from such single-minded pursuit of their dreams loosens their grip on reality and creates a melodramatic act out of real life. The idea of dreams, of a mistaken reality, controls the lives of every one of the book's characters.Jay Gatsby is one character who shows an extremely single-minded pursuit of his dream, known as Daisy Buchanan. From the beginning of his obsession as a young man to the time that Nick narrates his story, Gatsby's life centers around Daisy. For five years, he lives on his dream. He buys a house in West Egg, across from East Egg where Daisy lives, and as Jordan explains to Nick, " 'It wasn't a coincidence at all...Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.' " (83) Even though Gatsby has not spoken to Daisy in five years, he will not give up his dream. He finds it impossible to live a life apart from his dream, and every action he makes is directed towards that dream of reaching Daisy. The first time Nick sees Gatsby, he describes Gatsby's actions saying, "He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and as far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward--and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock." (25-6) That green light is the light at the end of Daisy's dock. To this green light, the symbol of his dream, Gatsby pays homage. His obsession with Daisy has become almost a religion as he performs this ritual ceremony each night. Only Daisy matters to him. When they dated, Gatsby was very poor, and realized that he2was of a different class than Daisy; he was bothered by the fact the he could not reasonably expect to possess such a girl. To gain her respect, he spent his entire life amassing money, gaining wealth any possible way, for his ultimate goal of Daisy stands ever in his mind. When she actually visits his house, Gatsby worries that she will not be satisfied with what he can show her. As Nick observes, "He revalued everything in his house according to the measure of response it drew from her well-loved eyes." (96-7) No matter what his possessions mean to him, Gatsby would throw them away if they did not please Daisy. Nothing else matters to Gatsby but Daisy's happiness, for he strives...

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