Image of American Dream in the Great Gatsby

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“The American Dream, the idea of the happy ending, is an avoidance of responsibility and commitment” (https:// www. Barbiturate. Com). What Robinson is saying is that a lot of people expect to achieve the American Dream, I. E. Happiness, through the accumulation of external things, meanwhile avoiding the true origins of happiness, which are internal. In F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby character also faces this dilemma as he reaches for the American Dream, believing that his happiness will come from accumulating wealth, and in turn, gaining the love of Daisy.

Throughout the story, the motif of the color green appears as a symbol of love and wealth for Gatsby, the pursuit of which ultimately leads to Gatsby demise, symbolizing the decline of the American Dream. The green light at the end of Daisy’s dock symbolizes hope and love to Gatsby, which are central to his idea of the American Dream. Daisy’s cousin, Nick, describes his [reaching out across the water trembling, appearing to be looking into a dark abyss. Nick explains, “Involuntarily I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock” (21).

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The green light at the end of Daisy and Tom’s dock is all that Gatsby can see of their house, and Gatsby grows to associate the green light with Daisy. This green light represents a ray of hope for Gatsby in his attempt to regain the love he once shared with Daisy. However, Gatsby dream, like the light, is Just beyond his reach, remaining remote and difficult to attain. Ultimately, hope for love fades for Jay Gatsby, as does the light across the bay, symbolic of the decline of the American Dream, and the uselessness of chasing it. The green light symbolizes Gatsby idea of true love, which is embodied solely in Daisy.

He makes her aware of this by telling her “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay. You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock” (92). He wants to regain the love he once had with her, at any cost. When Daisy does not reciprocate Gatsby affections as he assumed she would, Gatsby green light of love began to slowly fade away, signifying the decline of his American Dream. Furthermore, the color green also strongly represents wealth and achievement for Gatsby. Gatsby often engaged in extravagant displays of wealth for others to see.

Nick describes Gatsby first attempt at dazzling Daisy with his wealth at their first meeting. Daisy is tricked into coming to Nicks house for tea, only to have Gatsby show up. In preparation for her arrival, Nick uses a hyperbole of a “greenhouse” to describe the excessive amount of flowers Gatsby had delivered to his home in order to impress Daisy. Nick recounts, “… For at two o’clock a greenhouse arrived from Gatsby, with innumerable receptacles to contain it” (84). Having tricked Daisy into meeting with him, so Gatsby lavishes her with fresh greenery.

The fragrance intoxicates Daisy and against her best wishes she begins to fall for Gatsby and the wealth he represents. Soon Gatsby insists that Nick and Daisy Join him at his estate. While there, Gatsby continued to display his excessive wealth by showing off his expensive collection of shirts. Nick describes the scene saying, ‘While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher-?shirts with stripes and scrolls ND plaids and corral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, with monograms of Indian blue” (92).

Nicks use of repetition adds the sense of excessive displays of wealth when he describes the many different colors of the shirts. Daisy herself becomes overwhelmed by the beauty and begins to sob. The shirts push her over the edge because of the intense colors, including the ubiquitous apple-green, that symbolize the life she could be living, the wealth she could enjoy. Even she, the love of his life, is tricked into thinking that Gatsby is as beautiful as his costumes.

Gatsby belief that his wealth would allow him to have a life with Daisy, is not going to happen because the long ago moment has passed, and the “rags to riches” American Dream attained through wealth alone, does not come to pass. Most significantly, Gatsby belief that attaining immeasurable wealth will restore Daisy’s love for him and bring him the happiness he desires, is never realized. During the visit to Gatsby house, he, Daisy and Nick stare out the window through the rain and magmata shares with Daisy his obsession with the green light at the end of her dock.

It is at this moment that Daisy realizes Gatsby has been admiring her from afar, through the green light at the end of her dock. Gatsby seems lost in his longing for her rather than in Daisy’s growing affections. Caraway observes this odd turn of events affirming: He seemed absorbed in what he Just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon.

Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one. (93) In this moment, it becomes clear that Gatsby need for Daisy’s love turns out to be Just another enchanted object to be attained. However, with Daisy in his reach, the green light becomes Just a light at the end of a dock, and the enchantment of attaining Daisy slowly diminishes, much like the decline of the American Dream. Nick exposes the cracks in Gatsby American Dream explaining: I thought of Gatsby 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 law, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him… Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded is then, but that’s not matter-to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… (180) The green light is used metaphorically as a reference to the American Dream and the acquiring of things as a means for attaining happiness. The green light is used as a metaphor for Daisy’s love, and Gatsby attainment of her.

Gatsby hope rests on the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock more than the reality of Daisy, past or present. Daisy proves herself to not be the fulfillment of Gatsby dream, as she turns out to be as elusive and uncertain as the flickering green glow barely visible across the expansive water that separates their two worlds. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the color green throughout The Great Gatsby to symbolize the superficial aspects of the American Dream, to which Gatsby himself falls prey. The American Dream is built on the premise that love will follow wealth, and ultimately will lead to happiness.

The decline of this dream occurs when the things we seek are attained, yet happiness does not follow. For Gatsby, the green light, or Daisy’s love, is never attained. He blinds himself to the other colors and opportunities that exist all around him. Gatsby happiness is always contingent upon obtaining people or things. However, when captured, they no longer have value to him. This decline in value represents the decline of the American Dream. Gatsby dies never realizing that happiness does not come from the accumulation of things, including Daisy’s love, but instead it comes from within.

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Image of American Dream in the Great Gatsby. (2018, Feb 03). Retrieved from

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