Dust in the Great Gatsby

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In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald explores various themes, with the central message being the unattainability of the American Dream. Fitzgerald portrays two contrasting groups – individuals who possess seemingly perfect lives and those who are still pursuing their dreams of success. Tom and Daisy exemplify the former, as they enjoy a luxurious lifestyle, a loving marriage, a gorgeous child, and substantial wealth (Fitzgerald 6; ch.).

Both Gatsby and Mrs. Wilson are unhappy in their current situations and turn to having affairs. Gatsby and Mrs. Wilson both represent characters who strive for perfection. By the conclusion of the novel, the aspirations of both Gatsby and Mrs. Wilson remain unfulfilled.

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The dreams of Wilson have been shattered and they have passed away. The use of dust imagery is repeated when discussing the lost dreams of these two individuals. Fitzgerald utilizes dust as a symbol in The Great Gatsby to represent the demise of common people’s aspirations. Mrs. Wilson, for instance, was an average woman who had optimistic aspirations of building a fresh and superior life. She eagerly longed to escape her role as the wife of a impoverished car mechanic (35; ch.).

Myrtle still held onto the hope of better things, while her husband had resigned himself to their current life. “A white ashen dust covered Mr. Wilson’s dark suit and his pale hair, just like everything else nearby – except for his wife, who stayed near Tom” (26; ch.).

2). The utilization of dust by Fitzgerald serves to highlight the absence of dreams in Mr. Wilson and the continuing aspirations of Mrs. Wilson for an ideal life.

Myrtle’s dreams and life are both shattered when she is hit by Tom’s car, and Fitzgerald employs the use of dust in her death scene to represent what she has lost. In this scene, the other car involved in the accident comes to a stop beyond Myrtle’s location, and the driver quickly returns to find her life abruptly ended. As Myrtle kneels in the road, her dark thick blood becomes mixed with the dust (138; ch. 7). Additionally, dust is used once more to symbolize the unattainable dreams of an ordinary woman. Fitzgerald further employs this symbol when describing Gatsby’s failed aspirations. Despite having achieved many of his dreams, Gatsby ultimately finds them defeated.

Despite having a spacious mansion, abundant wealth, and socializing with prominent figures, there was still one missing element needed for his happiness (50; ch. 3). Gatsby’s sole intention behind his accomplishments was to attain the affection of Daisy, the woman he loved dearly (79; ch. 4). Eventually, Gatsby’s aspirations were fulfilled, if only briefly, when Daisy confessed her love for him (116; ch. 7).

Despite this, the perfection that Gatsby had achieved did not endure for long. Daisy quickly returned to Tom, shattering Gatsby’s dreams of his ideal life. When Nick visited Gatsby’s house following Daisy’s reunion with Tom, he observed that “there was an unaccountable amount of dust scattered everywhere” (147, ch. 8).

The dust signifies the remains of Gatsby’s shattered dreams. Fitzgerald hints at the downfall of Gatsby’s aspirations right from the start by mentioning dust. “It is what preoccupied Gatsby, what dirty dust floated in the aftermath of his dreams that momentarily closed off my interest in the failed sorrows and fleeting joys of men” (2; ch. 1). This allusion to the book’s ending reflects Fitzgerald’s belief that happiness is only attainable for a limited time. Dust once again symbolizes the small remnants of hope left behind in the aftermath of crushed dreams. In conclusion, F.

Scott Fitzgerald explores various themes and incorporates several symbols in The Great Gatsby, but the most prominent theme is the unattainability of a perfect life. By the end of the novel, none of the characters have achieved happiness through their aspirations or actions, and Fitzgerald frequently employs the symbol of dust to represent the dashed hopes and ambitions of the lower-class characters who strive for upward mobility. Myrtle Wilson, a poor and ordinary woman, yearns for a better life, and dust is utilized in her death scene as a symbol of her failed attempts to ascend in social status. Similarly, Gatsby, despite having fulfilled many of his dreams, still longs for one final element to fulfill his vision—Daisy.

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald utilizes dust as a symbol to represent the lost hopes and dreams of the common man. Gatsby’s ambition resulted in a brief moment of happiness when Daisy confessed her love for him. However, she ultimately returned to Tom, leaving behind a cloud of dust that covered everything in Gatsby’s home – a metaphorical residue of his shattered dreams.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby.

The book “New York” was published by Collier Books in 1925. The bibliography includes:

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