The Impossible Dream

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade December 2001

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The Impossible Dream The Great Gatsby is filled with characters that have many illusions, on which they build their lives: Wilson has illusions about his marriage with Myrtle, Myrtle believes Tom will save her from poverty with marriage, Daisy tries to ignore Tom's unfaithfulness and considers leaving Tom for Gatsby. Although these examples are significant, Gatsby is the only character to build his life entirely on illusion. Nick Carraway's ability to accept the world at face value is used by Fitzgerald to measure Gatsby's tenacious hold onto this self- created fantasy.

Nick is able to both distinguish illusion from reality and live with the combination of both. He never gives over to a dream or passion because he is, "slow "" thinking and full of interior rules that act as breaks on [his] desires."� ( ) Nick is recognized as being honest, tolerant, and understanding. Gatsby lacks the poise that Nick posses.

Nick is like a lightning rod that evenly spreads the danger, although sometimes even he cannot prevent the most dangerous strikes.

Humans build alternate realities to deal with the pain and hopelessness of life. Gatsby creates a new identity to escape poverty, and surrounds himself with reinforcements that make his illusion believable. His dream of reclaiming the love of Daisy is illusive because his image of her exists only in his imagination. She refuses his recognition because she believes "Gatsby wants too much"� (139). Even though Gatsby determination brought some rewards, his ultimate goal will never be achieved, because one cannot repeat the past.

Gatsby is the embodiment of spiritual desolation while Nick is a symbol of hope for moral growth. Nick's foundation of moral values is based on a mid-western family upbringing. His strong morals keep him alive, although his admiration for Gatsby's "extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as [he] [had] never found in any other person and which it is not likely [he] shall ever find again,"�(2) indicates that he wishes that he could throw caution and restraint to the wind also. In a parallel universe, Gatsby's dream may have been able to be carried out. In the setting of East and West Egg, however, his goals were corrupted by the world and his dream was destroyed because of his goals. Nick is the only character to understand this and in the end denounces the society. With the story of Gatsby, Fitzgerald depicts the end result of a life based entirely on illusion which is destruction. Nick's strong sense moral value is a role model for the people of East and West Egg. He implies that one should never give up one's dreams, but one should also face and accept reality to be successful.