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Trapped In A Dream In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

1836 words - 7 pages

Trapped in a Dream in The Great Gatsby

 
      F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is a unique in that Fitzgerald does not describe the events in chronological order. Instead, a first-person narrator, Nick Carraway, presents the story as a series of flashbacks. The novel centers around its title character, Jay Gatsby, a rich West Egg citizen who is known for his exuberant parties. Before he left to fight in World War I, the Great Gatsby fell in love with Daisy Fay. He eagerly awaited his return to the United States, but by the time he had arrived, Daisy had already married Tom Buchanan. As a result, Gatsby entered a dream world, in which he was convinced that he would win Daisy back. This dream soon became the center of his life, and he did everything he could to make it a reality. This transition did no go as smoothly as Gatsby had hoped. The major conflict in The Great Gatsby stems from the struggle between Gatsby's dream of changing the past and the reality that thwarts this desire. (Fitzgerald)

 

The majority of Gatsby's actions in the novel are geared at regaining a romantic relationship with Daisy. Had Gatsby not retained his love of Daisy, many of the novel's events would not have happened. When Gatsby is giving Daisy a tour of his mansion, he says, "If it wasn't for the mist we could see your home across the bay. You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock." (Fitzgerald, 94) This green light means a great deal to Gatsby, because it represents Daisy to him. The green light is the most visible part of the Buchanans' home from West Egg. Jordan Baker confirms that, "Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay." (Fitzgerald, 79) The fact that Gatsby bought his mansion so that he could live across from Daisy and that he often stares at the green light signifies how much he thinks about her. Gatsby's mansion itself also reflects upon his desire to marry Daisy. Before leaving for World War I, Gatsby "let her (Daisy) believe that he was a person from much the same stratum as herself." (Fitzgerald, 149) Daisy hesitated to marry him because he was not really from the same social class as she. As a result, Gatsby worked to improve his standing on the social scale in order to impress her. In Chapter 5, Gatsby "took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel . . ." (Fitzgerald, 93) Gatsby haphazardly tosses his shirts around to show Daisy that he is now worthy of her. In addition, the fact that "his bedroom was the simplest room of all" (Fitzgerald, 93) shows that Gatsby didn't want the mansion for himself, but as a token to impress the object of his dream. The Great Gatsby has earned fame for his lavish parties, but yet, as Nick recalls, "It was indirectly due to Cody that Gatsby drank so little. Sometimes in the course of the gay parties women used to rub champagne into his hair; for himself...

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