Gatsby Essay

Submitted By abchron
Words: 1426
Pages: 6

Amanda Chron
Mr. Kanda
American Lit.
The Only Exception Have you ever wanted something so badly that you would do almost anything to achieve it? If so, then you probably know the process of trial and error; trying so hard to get something but not always being successful. You also probably realized that you can’t always get what you want; or can you? In the book The Great Gatsby, by Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby, the main character, is determined to rekindle the feelings between himself and his past lover, Daisy Buchanan. This novel is told in the perspective of Gatsby’s neighbor, Nick Carraway, and takes place in the 1920’s, a time of economic prosper and the birth of materialism. World War I has just ended, marking the beginning of a new era and the possibility to achieve the much sought after American Dream. Through his novel, Fitzgerald shows that belief in the American Dream causes us to be consumed by our desire for status and materialism, and in turn, allows us to convince ourselves of unrealistic ideas, which ultimately leads to our downfall. However, there is one catch: those with social status get a “free ride”. While trying to achieve our dreams, we become convinced that any idea is plausible, causing us to lose sight of reality. This is shown when Gatsby and Nick are talking about how Gatsby was planning to get Daisy back when Nick shows his concern for Gatsby’s idea. Gatsby replies, “Can’t repeat the past? ...Why of course you can!” (110). Gatsby’s idea of repeating the past is a little delusional because, really, it’s impossible to repeat the past. What Gatsby means, however, is that he wants to re-experience the feelings he had when he was with Daisy before he left for war. However, since then, she has married and started a family, therefore, it’s too late to start over. Despite this, Gatsby is determined to win over her heart and have her tell Tom that she never loved him, which is a true statement. His thinking is unrealistic, and he is asking too much of her, which is why his dream can never come true. Nick also observes that despite Daisy’s new life, Gatsby still fails to see the reality behind it all. He says, “…His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him…” (180). Gatsby so desperately wants to get his girl back, but his opportunity has come and gone. He needs to realize that he wasn’t there for her when she needed him most, and that he did not have the qualifications she had in mind to be her ideal spouse. Therefore, Gatsby is living a lie in attempt pursue his dreams, and he has lost his true identity in the process. After having believed in the American Dream, those who were unsuccessful not only have been defeated, but they have also managed to lose themselves along the way. This is shown when Myrtle is with Tom in the apartment. She changes into a new, nicer dress, and Nick notes, “With the influence of her dress her personality had also undergone a change. The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted into impressive hauteur.” (30). This means that in order for her to be with Tom, she has to put on a façade that is more upper class like, because she feels her true personality is not worthy enough. This means she is forcing herself to live a lie, and it also means that she does not have the prerequisites to be a member of the upper class, and therefore, is only deceiving herself. It is also harming her because while she is spending time pretending, her ability to express herself is being sheltered, causing her to also lose sight of her true identity. Because of her vanishing identity, as Fitzgerald shows, she puts herself on the path to her destruction. Nick observed her mangled body after the car accident and recalls, “The mouth was wide open and ripped ad the corners, ad though she had chocked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she has stored