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 hinking 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 est 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”