F. Scott Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby can be seen as a novel that deals with a man's pursuit of the American dream. During the 1920's, many strove to achieve the American dream; having a family, wealth, and happiness. Success was marked by one's achievements and the American dream was supposedly attainable for all. Gatsby tries to live out his dream by believing that wealth will buy him the happiness that he once had in the past. The theme of searching for the disintegrating American dream is apparent in Gatsby's characteristic hopefulness, family life, and unfortunate obsession with wealth.
Gatsby has a sense of hopefulness that is necessary to anyone trying to live the American dream. He starts off as a poor man in love with someone that he cannot have because of social differences. However, instead of completely disregarding his wishes of marrying Daisy, he does everything in his power to win her approval.
It is apparent that beginning in his childhood, Gatsby has a strong sense of hope. Growing up in a farming household, he wishes to better himself. An example of this is when Gatsby's father shows Nick one of Gatsby's books from when he was a young boy: "He opened it at the back cover and turned it around for me to see. On the last fly-leaf was printed the word schedule, and the date September 12th, 1906"(181). Nick continues on to read Gatsby's list of things he must do. These include exercise, studying, working, playing sports, and practicing poise. Even at this early stage of his life, Gatsby is starting to search for something more. Later on in Gatsby's life, everything revolves around his hopefulness. He buys his mansion across the lake from Daisy's in hopes that she may come to one of his extravagant parties.