The Tragic Great Gatsby

Essay by JstMistUniversity, Bachelor's December 2003

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The Tragic Great Gatsby

The American dream, many writers have written about it. Many politicians have made promises regarding it. But how important is money and success? Does it bring happiness or fulfillment? F. Scot Fitzgerald is one of many who attempted to put this ideal in its proper perspective. His novel, The Great Gatsby, explores his interpretation of the dream. "The Great Gatsby is an exploration of the American dream as it exists in a corrupt period, and it is an attempt to determine the concealed boundary that divides the reality from the illusions" (Bewley 38). Jay Gatsby, born as James Gatz to a poor family of farmers out west, achieves the American dream to its fullest. Still, Gatsby ultimately dies a tragic figure because he wastes his life chasing an unattainable dream by the name of Daisy Buchanan.

First, James Gatz, later known as Jay Gatsby, grows up an ordinary average American boy.

Like many Americans he has a dream of fame and fortune but not a lot of money to go along with it. He wants to become somebody. Even as a young boy, he reveals his great determination to his father. He makes a schedule of daily activities to keep himself on the right track to success. As his father states at the ending, he was always trying to improve his mind. "Jimmy [Gatsby] was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolve like this or something. Do you notice what he's got about improving his mind? He was always great about that" (Fitzgerald 175). Yet, somewhere along the way, Gatsby loses sight of this dream for another. Her name is Daisy. From this point on, all his achievements, self-worth, and his identity only meant something if she approved. "He hadn't once ceased...