An Illusion to Mankind
In the novel, The Great Gatsby, author F. Scott Fitzgerald opens up about the idea of the American Dream. His idea is carried on as he introduces us to Jay Gatsby. Gatsby was a man who came from a low class background but aspired to become so much more. His dream hadn’t meant so much to him until he met and fell in love with Daisy Buchanan, a wealthy, elegant woman loved by many. She was even Gatsby’s representation of his very own American Dream. The American Dream is an overall idea that any American has; to have a life filled with much success, happiness, wealth and love. No matter what social class you come from, you can idealize. We also meet other characters from all sorts of background. Such as Nick Carraway, The Wilsons, Jordan Baker and Tom Buchanan. Each one of these characters create their own idea of the American Dream. Some try to climb up the ladder of their dreams. Others take advantage and hold them back from achieving their dreams. Fitzgerald therefore tries to validate that the American Dream is all an illusion.
Nick Carraway, the narrator of the novel, introduces us to Gatsby’s plot when he first encounters him on the lawn, “Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock” (21). Nick was confused at why Gatsby was seen out in the distance with the “light”. It seemed that there was some sort of connection between the two. It came from the other way of the dock, where Daisy lived. Daisy was all that Gatsby dreamed of, it was all he wanted. Yet, she seemed so far away from him. It was a dream that would be hard to obtain, which even cost his own life. Gatsby’s American Dream was just an illusion. No matter how much he work hard for it, it all just slipped away. Daisy just pushed him away, not caring about how he felt for her, she was selfish and made him suffer in the worst ways possible. Gatsby believed fully that he would be able to accomplish his dream. Daisy had it all, she had nothing to lose, she has no idea what it was to dream. Gatsby worked his way up, thinking his dreams would come true, he believed in that “green light”.
Myrtle Wilson was another character who tried living up to the standards of the American Dream but resulted in tragedy as well. She was a part of the working middle class alongside her husband, George Wilson. “This is a valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys” (23). When Nick and Tom visit where the Wilsons live, Nick describes the landscape as a type of fantasy place filled with hopes and dreams. What Myrtle aspires to have is a luxurious life, filled with wealth and standards. She has no love for her husband and doesn’t care about what he has to offer for her. Myrtle sees Tom as her savior, the man who can love her and give her the life she actually wants. Myrtle expects that it would be easy for Tom to abandon Daisy so they can be together. Just like Gatsby, it is all a dream for her. A dream that seemed so far fetched.
An Illusion to Mankind