Lit- Gatsby Final Essay by hedongchenchen


									Justin Minder                                 Lit                               Gatsby- Final Essay

       The Great Gatsby is a novel that depicts Jay Gatsby chasing his American Dream.

Although Gatsby did it by illegal means, Fitzgerald honors Gatsby for the effort he put forth in

trying to achieve his American Dream of winning Daisy back. With the use of symbolism,

syntax to create a respectful tone towards Gatsby, and a mood of honor, Fitzgerald admires

Gatsby for chasing an unattainable American Dream and almost succeeding.

       Symbolism is a major key to Fitzgerald’s novel and he uses it to represent how

unattainable American Dream’s are. Fitzgerald uses the green light across the bay to symbolize

how unattainable and far away he is from attaining his dream. Gatsby believes that the green

light represents his hopes of gaining Daisy is the future so what he did to make it seem closer

was to “stretch out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way”. But the reality is, that the

green light was across the bay and Gatsby would never get it no matter how far he stretched out.

Fitzgerald intentionally did this to show that even if someone reached out for the “green light”,

nobody would attain it. Thus, if Gatsby would “stretch out [his] arms farther” like it says on the

last page of the novel, he would still never reach the green light and as a result, never gain back

Daisy and reach his American Dream. In the middle of the novel when it appeared as if Gatsby

got Daisy back that “the colossal significance of the light had now vanished forever” and “His

count of enchanted objects had diminished by one”. But the truth of Gatsby’s situation is the

light was still present across the bay and it was shining brightly, but Gatsby was so caught up

and blind to the world around him due to his infatuation, that he didn’t realize it anymore.

Gatsby never really gained back the Daisy Fay he wanted to get back and even though Daisy

“seemed as close to a star to the moon”, it was a delusion because the reality is that the moon and

stars are millions of miles apart. This was the point of Fitzgerald’s symbolism with the green
Justin Minder                                Lit                               Gatsby- Final Essay

light. To show that Gatsby can see the green light and grasp for it, but there will always be a bay

in-between his outstretched hand and reality.

       Fitzgerald also uses dust to symbolize failure at attaining an American Dream. A perfect

example of this is Mr. Wilson living in the “Valley of Ashes” and “the dust covered wreck of a

Ford” in his garage. Mr. Wilson is living the American Nightmare with a “dust covered” life in

the “Valley of Ashes”. But aside from Mr. Wilson and his failure at the American Dream,

Gatsby also has dust in his life. After the scene in chapter seven where Daisy and Gatsby run

over Myrtle, and the reader realizes that Gatsby’s shot of attaining Daisy have completely

vanished, there is a quote in chapter 8 that says, “There was an inexplicable amount of dust

everywhere”. This quote is referring to the amount of dust that has accumulated in Gatsby’s

house. Since Fitzgerald uses dust as a symbol for the failure of attaining an American Dream,

this symbolizes the complete failure of Gatsby’s dream and that he will never get Daisy back. So

although Gatsby pursues Daisy with all he’s got and pushes his “boat against the current” with

his determination, the current knocks him down and ultimately results in the dust starting to form

in his house to symbolize the dream has “eluded” him like the last page of the novel states.

       Fitzgerald uses his syntax in a way to create a tone that is meant to honor Gatsby in the

chase of his American Dream. Starting with the title of his novel, The Great Gatsby. There is a

reason for why Fitzgerald titled his book The Great Gatsby and that is because he obviously

thinks highly of Gatsby and respects him for going after his American Dream and getting Daisy

with all he had. Gatsby put everything he had into trying to get Daisy. Although he obtained his

fortune illegally, Fitzgerald still commends him and says, “Gatsby turned out all right at the

end”. Fitzgerald says this out of respect for the man because he went out to get a fortune so he

has at least a shot with Daisy because Gatsby realized how materialistic Daisy is considering she
Justin Minder                                 Lit                               Gatsby- Final Essay

gave up love with Gatsby to marry a guy with money when he was in the war. But besides that,

Fitzgerald values Gatsby’s attempt and even though he ultimately failed, Fitzgerald still believes

he’s great. On the last page of the novel, Fitzgerald’s viewpoint is portrayed perfectly, he says,

“…his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it”. Fitzgerald is

commending Gatsby for all of the hard work and effort he put into chasing his unattainable

dream. He came so close as though his dream could barely slip away from his outstretched arms,

but then he got beat down by the “current” and the dream slipped away from him entirely.

However, even though Gatsby failed, Fitzgerald makes it clear that he should be remembered as

great for all of his hard work, hence titling his book The Great Gatsby.

       Fitzgerald’s tone towards Gatsby in the above paragraph makes the reader feel a

respectful and honoring mood. When Fitzgerald states that “Gatsby turned out all right at the

end”, it makes the reader feel respectful of the man for him chasing after his dream and living his

life according to his dream. Gatsby is one of the few people that can honestly say they lived their

life how they planned it to be. Gatsby wanted to achieve his dream more then anything in the

world and he did everything he could, but it just wasn’t enough to go against the current. “It

eluded us then, but that’s no matter- to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms

farther…” This quote summarizes the mood a reader should get after reading this novel. Even

though Gatsby’s dream eluded him many times, he did everything he could. He stretched out his

arms further and ran faster but it just wasn’t enough to achieve his “one fine morning—”. But the

fact of the matter is this, Gatsby tried time after time again which makes the mood respectful and

honoring of Gatsby’s attempt to come so close to his dream but fall just a little bit short.

       In The Great Gatsby, the American Dream is used to represent an unattainable object that

not even the Great will achieve. So even though Gatsby went though his whole life trying to
Justin Minder                                  Lit                           Gatsby- Final Essay

make his dream tangible and real, it never did. And this fact is why Gatsby deserves the amount

of respect and honor that Fitzgerald gives him throughout the novel because he sincerely set his

heart out to attain his dream but it just didn’t work out for him.

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