Great Gatsby the Prevailing Theme Term Paper

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Great Gatsby

The prevailing theme in the Great Gatsby is the quest for the American Dream and, more importantly, how the American Dream is unattainable. It is a tale full of symbolism, where the American Dream is the quest of money, as symbolized by the green light shining across the lake and the only person who seems to have obtained the American Dream, Jay Gatsby, is anything but happy and satisfied. In order to get his dream, Daisy, he uses his money to throw lavish parties where others can come and have a taste of the wealth known as the American Dream.

The story is told during the 1920's and is a critique and portrayal of both Gatsby's and the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald's view of the American Dream in the roaring twenties. At its core, the book is about American society's failure to realize its potential and to obtain the real dream.

The characters and setting for the novel embody the stereo-type of the American dream: privileged young people surrounded by lavish mansions, fancy cars and an abundance of material possessions. As Nick says, he is surrounded by "youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves." (Fitzgerald, 157).

Clearly the idea of the American Dream as a prison is not much of a dream at all, but this is exactly the theme of the novel- that wealth and riches are superficial means of covering up the fact that we, society, have failed miserably at attaining the dream we really want, which is love. and, as is clear to Gatsby as he finds himself unable to get Daisy, true love cannot be bought.

Gatsby himself is an interesting character because he alone is the only one who is the ideal "self-made man" of the American Dream. Everyone else he surrounds himself with, particularly the Buchanan's, were born into their wealth and have no notion of the struggle of the American Dream. For instance, Daisy exclaims to her newborn girl, "All right...I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool." (Fitzgerald, p. 21).

Yet Gatsby is the only one who is unhappy and, in the end, finds himself dead. Again, this is another way of Fitzgerald critiquing modern society as being the cause for the death of the American Dream.

Gatsby made himself the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Great Gatsby the Prevailing Theme.  (2007, April 13).  Retrieved January 18, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/great-gatsby-prevailing-theme/959566

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"Great Gatsby the Prevailing Theme."  Essaytown.com.  April 13, 2007.  Accessed January 18, 2020.
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