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The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is set in 1922 in the New York
City area. It is about the American Dream and those who attempt to reach its
illusionary goals. Jay Gatsby acquires the wealth and the power of his dream but
not the happiness. We have to wonder why F. Scott Fitzgerald would write such a
book. Was it to reflect the society of the 1920’s: where either you had money
and the dream, or you were poor and lived amongst the ashes. You could have the
chance of being like the phoenix and rising out of the ashes like the character
Jay. This dream is different for different people. In The Great Gatsby, for Jay,
the dream is that through wealth and power one can acquire happiness. Jay
Gatsby, the central figure of the story is one character who longs for the past.
Surprisingly, he devotes most of his adult life trying to recapture it, finally
dying in its pursuit. In the past, Jay had a love affair with the affluent Daisy
Buchannan. Knowing he could not marry her because of her social status, he
leaves her to achive a comparable social status. Once he acquires this status,
he moves near Daisy, and throws elaborate parties hoping, by chance, she might
show up at one of them. When Daisy doesn’t show up at the parties, Jay asks
around to see if anyone knows her. Soon he meets Nick Carraway, a cousin of
Daisy’s, who agrees to arrange a meeting. Gatsby’s personal dream symbolizes the
larger American Dream which is available to everyone , the wealth, the status
and the happiness. Tom Buchannan, Daisy’s husband, realizes his world is falling
apart when he is driving to New York with Nick and Jordan Baker the female golf
pro. His wife Daisy, is driving with Jay in her car. Tom stops to get gas and
Tom’s mistress, Myrtle sees him. With jealous eyes she watches them leave
thinking Jordan is Tom’s wife. On the way back from New York, Daisy is driving
Tom’s car, Myrtle sees the car and thinks that it’s Tom and she runs out in
front of it. Daisy doesn’t realize the woman she hit was Tom’s mistress, as she
continues to drive away in shock. Later in the story at the Plaza Hotel, Jay
still believes Daisy loves him. He is so convinced of this that he takes the
blame for Myrtle’s death. Jay cannot accept that the past is gone. He is sure he
can capture his dream with all his wealth. He believes he acted for a good
beyond his personal interest and that should give him success. Gatsby doesn’t
rest until his American Dream is finally fulfilled. However, it never comes
about and he ends up paying the ultimate price for it. Jay found his wealth and
his power but not his ultimate happiness. The idea that money can buy everything
is far off, no matter what you have you can never buy true friends or total
happiness. The American Dream still holds true today. But one thing never
changes: everyone desires something in life and everyone strives to get it, but
as we all know, " you can’t always get what you want". Gatsby is a
prime example. I highly recommend this book as a great read. Quote " You
can’t always get what you want"
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