The Great Gatsby?Dreams?The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a novel about the American Dream. In the Great Gatsby, the dream is that one can acquire happiness through wealth and power. To get his happiness Jay attempts to reacquire the love of his lost sweet heart, Daisy. The main problem with Jay’s dream is that Daisy is all ready married. Gatsby’s personal dream symbolizes the larger American Dream ?The pursuit of happiness?.
Jay Gatsby longs for the past. Surprisingly he devotes his adult life trying to recapture it and dies in its pursuit. In the past, Jay had a love affair with a young rich girl, Daisy. Daisy and Jay had fallen in love with each other in spite of knowing that they could not marry because of the difference in their social status. For the first time in Jay’s life he was truly happy. During their courtship, Jay was sent off to war. Upon returning from the war, Jay found out that Daisy had married a wealthy man by the name of Tom Buchannon. Jay then spends his life acquiring wealth to reach her economic standards, in hope that he can marry her and rekindle the happiness that he once had. His love for Daisy was impossible in society because he was at present a penniless young man without a past?he had no comfortable family standing behind him (156). Gatsby encounters his dream of love at this point of his life. He knew that at that time a relationship of love was impossible with Daisy due to his low social standing. Gatsby became determined to breach that gap between them in order to have a loving relationship with Daisy. He did reach the physical circumstances necessary to love her, but he had focused too much on money and power the previous five years of his life. He wanted his love with Daisy to flourish. Unfortunately, he had lost the ability to love. He no longer possessed moral integrity or the ability to handle a relationship. Society is often broken up into different social groups by their economic status. Those of lower classes believe that their problems will go away if they can gain enough wealth to reach the upper class. Many people believe that the American Dream is this joining of the upper class, and once reaching that point, not having to be concerned about money at all. The logic behind this is that being poor keeps people from being happy, and once you become rich, you do not have to struggle with the problems of life, and can therefore be happy. The Great Gatsby takes this belief, and shows its flaws through the lives of Jay, Tom and Daisy. In fact, all of the characters in the story are affected in some way by the lives of these three characters.
Gatsby makes becoming an upper class citizen his priority. The life of the upper class in turn, makes the acquisition of wealth their priority. Wealth becomes Jay’s vehicle in his quest for his primary goal, Daisy. In Gatsby’s rise to power morality is sacrificed in order to attain wealth. While the story does not go into great detail as to how Gatsby’s wealth was accumulated, it can easily be seen that his business ventures were shady at best. Gatsby’s dream was doomed to failure because of his lack of principles. This shows a major flaw of the American Dream philosophy, just like the get rich quick schemes of today, Jay is trying to buy Daisy’s love, not earn it. Nick attempts to tell Jay that his dream is pointless by saying that the past cannot be relived. Jay quickly told Nick, Yes you can, old sport. This shows the confidence that Jay has in fulfilling his American Dream, and his commitment to it.
Tom Buchanan, Daisy’s husband, was a man from an enormously wealthy family. Nick, described Tom’s physical attributes as having a hard mouth and a supercilious manner?arrogant eyes had established dominance over his face?always leaning aggressively forward?a cruel body?his speaking voice?added to the impression of fractiousness he conveyed (11). The wealth Tom has inherited causes him to become arrogant and condescending to others. Tom believed that