F. Scott Fitzgerald is famous for writing the "Great American Novel" known as The Great Gatsby (Baker 123). This epic novel portrays life in the 1920's during the jazz years, prohibition, and World War I. The story seems to take on a theme of romance, success, wealth, moral values and happiness or what is thought of as the "American Dream."
However, as it turns out, due to easy money and the carefree social values of the era, The Great Gatsby depicts a story of the "withering of the American Dream" (Criticism 125).
Jay Gatsby falls in love with Daisy, a wealthy, romantic socialite who is on a different social scale than him. Gatsby idealizes her and believes if he becomes wealthy he will regain her love from an earlier romance before he left for war.
"She becomes an embodiment of a romantic dream" (Baker 112).
Daisy actually married Tom while Gatsby was gone during World War I.
He buys an expensive house across from Daisy so he can look out at her. A green light that shines from her dock symbolizes hope that he may one day have her again.
His fantasy of her becomes his personal version of the American Dream ("Novel Guide"). His dream to win her back becomes an obsession and ends up controlling his life.
According to Neuhaus, Gatsby was great, not just in Nick Carroway's vision, his neighbor and friend, but in ours, because Fitzgerald brilliantly represents in Gatsby both the failure of the American Dream and its perpetual refusal to die (Neuhaus 9).
This infatuation for Daisy eventually inadvertently leads to his death. While driving Gatsby's car home Daisy accidentally hits Myrtle. Gatsby takes the blame for Myrtle's death instead of Daisy being guilty of the crime. Gatsby is later shot to death...