great gatsby essay

Submitted By valerieelliott
Words: 1092
Pages: 5

Valerie Elliott
Ms. McCombe
English 11
9 April 2015
Literary Analysis of The Great Gatsby
Today the dreams of many Americans are solely based on love wealth, and fame. Many people came to America in search of a better life and in hopes of achieving the American Dream which was the engine driving our country since its birth. During the 10920s the economy was in full swing and people began buying stocks. Society during the 1920s was influenced by the American dream by basing their lives on wealth and love. In the novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s implies that the American Dream was only based on love and being rich, through his use of setting, symbolism, and characterization Fitzgerald shows that the American Dream was based on wealth through his use of setting. There are numerous settings in the novel that show the hardship of the American dream. A lot of the story takes place in East Egg or in West Egg which are both located in New York and early in the story the difference between both places is made clear. “ My house was at the very tip of the egg, only fifty yards from the Sound, and squeezed between two huge places that rented for twelve or fifteen thousand a season” (Fitzgerald 5). People with old money live in East Egg and people with new money live in West Egg and Gatsby is considered new money. “Nick Carraway, the novel's narrator, points out that his rented summer cottage is located next door to Gatsby's mansion, but is still located in less fashionable West Egg” (Verderame). Through the use of setting, Fitzgerald shows us how society is separated based on who was wealthier and who was poorer by separating East Egg, West Egg, and The Valley of Ashes. Fitzgerald uses characterization to show how wealth can affect people’s views on the American dream. Many rich people tried to outdo each other when it came to the 1920’s and that is what Gatsby tried to do, thinking he could win Daisy back. “‘I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West- all dead now. I was brought up in America but educated at Oxford, because all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It is a family tradition’” (Fitzgerald 65). Gatsby does not think that Nick will know he is lying about where he went to school but he does. “Always perceptive, Nick senses something false about his new friend, something slightly absurd in the formality of his speech, for example, and this realization continues to be reinforced. In their next meeting, Gatsby lies to Nick about his background, saying he comes from wealthy Midwesterners and was educated at Oxford when he really was not educated there” (James). It is proven that you cannot buy someone’s love and “Both Gatsby and Tom Buchanan, Daisy's husband, possessed wealth. Gatsby at least used his wealth to seek out beauty and claim it for himself. Buchanan the lecher lacked any larger goals” (Trask) prove it. Through his use of symbolism, Fitzgerald shows exactly how the American dream was only based on wealth and love. The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock stood for his dream which was to have Daisy just like he wanted five years ago as well. Fitzgerald shows this when he says “As I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it” (Fitzgerald 180). Everything Gatsby does is to try and create the past he had when he and Daisy were in love and he did not quite reach his goal but he was so close. “Wonder drove Gatsby "a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it ... Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. Our pursuit of it, Nick says, is why ‘we beat on’, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" (Bloom). Through his use of