“The Great Gatsby” by Scott F. Fitzgerald
“The Great Gatsby” by Scott F. Fitzgerald is one of the defining books for American society. In the novel, the author raises many social issues and carefully describes the way of life of that era. Moreover, since the plot of the novel is set in the “roaring twenties”, the writer pays great attention to the parties of high society.
So, the main characters of the novel attend the very events where they encounter each other. The theme of the American Dream quite transparently intertwines the fate of each hero, because they all strive for something. However, the problem is whether the heroes will be able to achieve their goals and make those dreams come true. “The Great Gatsby” novel is about the unattainability of the American dream and shattered hopes. In this sense, Gatsby, Daisy, and Nick all dream of something different, but each of them ends up disappointed.
The theme of the American Dream interweaves the fates of almost every character in the book and connects their stories into one novel. This way, right from the first pages of the novel, Fitzgerald talks about Nick’s dream. A young man who has gone through the war dreams of finding his place in a quiet area where he can start a new life. “I had a familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer” (Fitzgerald 6). As he meets Gatsby and Daisy, and observes their relationship history, he dreams of a happy ending for them. Gatsby, who appears to be the host of the stormiest parties in almost all of the United States, dreams of returning the love of his life. And Daisy, at the risk of an unhappy marriage, wants to find true love. Thus, for each of these characters, there is their own American dream, which ultimately turns out to be unattainable.
The main characters in the novel The Great Gatsby are presented almost immediately. First, the entire narrative in the book is conducted from the first person of the hero Nick, who moves to a new house in the West Egg area. Then, while visiting his old friends, Nick meets Daisy, who also plays a key role in the novel. She appears as a witty and pretty girl, whose face somehow displays some sadness. «Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it… but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget» (Fitzgerald 12). Thus, describing the wistful look of Daisy, the author points to a certain secret hidden behind her character.
Gatsby is introduced in the novel a little later and turns out to be the host of those roaring parties that were so popular among the high society. All of these three main characters have their own American dream, each of which manifests itself as the story progresses.
The novel is dominated by many symbols and signs that help readers feel the atmosphere of the story. Thus, the green light that Gatsby saw every night, symbolizes his love for Daisy. Watching him, he dreamed that his beloved would return to him again. «Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then.» (Fitzgerald 117). However, this same light appears to readers as a symbol of the unfulfilled American dream. Gatsby thought that only with the help of wealth and influence would he be able to win Daisy over. However, the slowly fading green light indicates the failure of such desire.
The irony in the Great Gatsby lies in the falseness that the protagonist demonstrates to the guests of his parties. So, after attending one of these events, Nick finds himself in the Gatsby library, where he notices that not a single book has even been opened. Once again, Scott Fitzgerald shows readers what the truth of the American Dream is and makes fun of it. The wealth, luxury, and influence that Gatsby possesses is nothing short of hypocrisy. Moreover, most of the guests attending the main character’s parties speculate about his past behind his back. «…he killed a man once…he was a German spy during the war…» (Fitzgerald 44). However, it was the spread of such rumors that Gatsby was waiting for, since they might interest Daisy. Thus, the irony of the American Dream and the mystery of Gatsby’s identity accompany readers throughout the novel.
The overall tone and mood of the novel seems rather melancholic and depressing. The novel begins with a description of the life of Nick, who went through the war and is now looking for a place where he will be at ease. Gatsby’s parties are full of fun and extravagance, but they only distract readers from the general atmosphere of the book. Moreover, the various events that happen to the characters destroy their dreams. «Through all he said… I was reminded of something – an elusive rhythm, a fragment of lost words, that I had heard somewhere a long time ago.» (Fitzgerald 195). This phrase is the final one in the entire novel, and it symbolizes all the melancholy of the lost American dream.
Thus, the theme of the American dream interweaves the entire plot of the novel The Great Gatsby. Each of the characters had their own dream, but none of them could come true. Moreover, each of the three protagonists turns out to be a fake and confuses his dreams with reality. Daisy, Nick, and Gatsby himself are stereotypical high-society Americans in the roaring twenties. Their American dream turns out to be unattainable and at the end of the novel they are left disappointed.
Fitzgerald, Scott F. Great Gatsby. Palmyra Classics, 2017.