The quote 'material without being real' shows the
emptiness of an existence with the realization of a
tainted ideal. Fittingly, this quote from Nick is placed
after Daisy leaves Gatsby. Nick is imagining what Gatsby
would be thinking if he had understood that the goal,
winning Daisy and her materialistic insubstantiality, was
unworthy of his effort. Fitzgerald does not specifically
state if Gatsby is or is not waiting for the phone call
from Daisy. If Gatsby has realized that Daisy will not
call, then he has undergone the self-recognition of the
tragic hero. If he is waiting for the phone call, then he
is still holding on to his idealized goal. While this
shows that he is holding onto the part of his life:
that which marked his personality as more substantial
Daisy's personality, it also illustrates the futility of
reaching for a corrupted goal.
Many Americans today may lack the motivation of Jay
Gatsby in the quest for his 'pure' dream.
is strictly materialistic. Such individuals view the
purpose of education not as serving to perfect of one's
intellect, but to secure a job. Every day they perform
the same dull and tedious routine, their only goal being
the receipt of a paycheck which they will redeem
ultimately for social status. Some do have dreams, and to
their life is added new meaning through the reaching for a
goal. It is this reaching, the gaining of enjoyable and
constructive experience, which gives purpose to their work
that diminishes the monotony of their daily existence.
Whereas the straight materialists will eventually spend
their 'dream,' the experience that a 'reacher' gains
cannot be taken away.