Decayed American Dream
The novel The Great Gatsby wrote by Scott Fitzgerald described a degenerated American Dream under the post World War I prosperity where acquiring more and more wealth became the priority. The main character Jay Gatsby comes from a poor family in rural North Dakota. Gatsby is a man willing to sacrifice for people he loves, but he dedicated his whole life on pursuing the American Dream without realizing the remoteness of the dream, and when he realize the dream is unreachable he lost the meaning of his life.
Gatsby has been committed on becoming wealthy since the early stage of his life. He never accepted his family background and had always tried to start a new life he designed for himself. In chapter 6 the narrator Nick wrote:”I suppose he’d had the name ready for a long time, even then. His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people—his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was the Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself”(Fitzgerald 99). This passage is the first time reader acquired information about Gatsby’s past. The narrator Nick started introduce Gatsby’s past by his original mane James Gatz. “I suppose he’d the name ready for a long time” (99) indicating he had planed on change his name for long time before he had a chance to change it. That means he decided he wants to build he own life when he was young. Nick then talked about his parents:”His parents shiftless and unsuccessful farm people” (99). The word”unsuccessful” tells reader that Gatsby comes from a poor and low social status family. Furthermore, Nick says:”his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all” (99). This confirmed that Gatsby was never satisfied by his family background. Finally Nick consuls:” the Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself” (99). Overall this passage tells reader Gatsby changed his life dramatically following his unrealistic dream.
Gatsby met a girl from a rich family called Daisy and fallen in love with her when his was an army officer stationed at Louisville before he left for the World War I. When he got back from the war and gathered large amount of wealth by bootleg alcoholic drink. And he continues to pursue his dream of marrying Daisy. He tried to reunite with Daisy by hold huge party on every Saturday at his house. But he started getting resistant from one of the “Old Money”, Tom who is Daisy’s husband. After Daisy went to his party for the first time Gatsby had a conversation with Nick about Daisy. Nick described:”He wanted nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: ‘I never loved you.’ After she had obliterated four years with that sentence they could decide upon the more practical measures to be taken… ‘And she doesn’t understand,’ he said. ‘She used to be able to understand. We’d sit for hours.’” (109) This passage clearly shows Gatsby wants more than a reunion with Daisy. He wants to marry her officially. Nick realizes the limitation of reality and the inequality in the society. He realizes one can’t achieve anything he wants. He told Gatsby:”I wouldn’t ask too much of her, you can’t repeat the past” (110). But Gatsby doesn’t seem to understand that, or he doesn’t want to understand it. He replied”’Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’”(110) This conversation expressed Gatsby’s obsession of the infinite possible of American Dream which is unreachable under most circumstance in reality.
Although Gatsby is obsession with his unrealistic dream, he is a man with good quality. He cares about people around him and willing to sacrifice for people he love. In chapter 7 after the unpleasant meeting at New York City where Gatsby asked Tom let him to marry Daisy and Tom confronted Gatsby about his past, Nick found Gatsby hiding outside Tom’s house. When Nick asked him what he was doing there he says:”She’ll be all right to-morrow. I’m just going to wait here and see if he tries to bother her about that unpleasantness this afternoon. She’s locked herself into her room, and if he tries any brutality she’s going to turn the light out and on again” (144). This passage shows Gatsby truly cares about Daisy even after realize they can’t be together. After Nick suggested he go home and get some rest Gatsby said:”I want to wait here till Daisy goes to bed. Good night old sport.” At the end Nick write:”So I walked away and left him standing there in the moonlight—watching over nothing” (145). At that point Gatsby’s American Dream is already over he continues to watch Daisy is just “watching over nothing.”
American dream has been considered an infinite possibility. But under the most condition life is not dream people can’t achieve any they want. In the case of Gatsby, he never realized nor accepted the reality. He spent his whole life trying to make his realistic dream come true. When at the end he realize his dream of marry Daisy is going to remain a dream he lost the purples of his life.
Decayed American Dream