Gatsby and the Ever Eluding Dream
Dreams are the only true thing that is free. A man could go his whole life with nothing more than a dream. He may never make anything of that dream; however, as long as there is a dream, there is hope. Dreams may come in many forms, each tailored to its architect’s will and efforts to procure that dream. That dream could come in the form of a concealed fantasy, existing only in the night, or those aspirations may turn to reality for someone with an unrestrainable desire and an impassioned soul willing to accomplish the aim of their goal, no matter the cost. In James Gatz’s case, more formally known as Jay Gatsby, he had that fiery inclination that wouldn’t allow him to give up, rejecting his lackluster beginnings, and ascending to the extraordinary. Fitzgerald does an excellent job detailing Gatsby’s persistent diligence towards his desires, and the great lengths he goes to achieve them.
Halfway into the book, Jay Gatsby requires Nick Carraway’s help to reach the beginning and conclusion of what could arguably be the most protracted of his existential crises. Gatsby, a cunning, suave, go-getter, has been reduced to a finicky neurotic in anticipation of his reunitement with Daisy. To alleviate some tension at the get-together at Nick’s house, Nick separates himself from Gatsby and Daisy, and is pleasantly surprised when he returns to see the pair completely immersed in conversation. This is the reader’s first glimpse at Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship in the present tense, as opposed to the past accounts before Gatsby went to war, and here we see the true captivation they share for each other. Once the connection is made between Gatsby and Daisy, Gatsby offers an all-inclusive tour of his home, where he shows off his accomplishments through all of his possessions. The trio encounters sort of a crossroads, so to speak when Gatsby introduces the contents of his closet. “ He took out a pile of shirts and began throwing them, one by one, before us, shirts of sheer linen and thick silk and fine flannel, which lost their folds as they fell and covered the table in many-colored disarray. While we admired he brought more and the soft rich heap mounted higher shirts with stripes and scrolls and plaids in coral and apple-green and lavender and faint orange, with monograms of Indian blue. Suddenly, with a strained sound, Daisy bent her head into the shirts and began to cry stormily. ‘ They’re such beautiful shirts’”, she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘ It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such-such beautiful shirts before.’”
Fitzgerald gives a telling introspective look at Daisy’s utterly euphoric response to Gatsby’s wealth that quickly turns to a dejected disposition. In the quoted passage, Fitzgerald effectively accomplished a comprehensive insight into Daisy’s resurfaced sentiment towards Gatsby’s affluence. This can be seen as Daisy mentions that she is “sad” and by the way she cries “stormily” over Gatsby’s shirts(92). In actuality, the shirts carry important symbolic value, as they are representative of the idea that she realizes the capacity of a hypothetical relationship with Gatsby. This helps set the tone that Fitzgerald sets for Gatsby as he has evolved his character into a massively successful man; Gatsby now has the means to rain “shirts of sheer linen” upon his guests(92). Since Gatsby has amassed his sheer fortune, he is now in the position to accomplish his first objective of overcoming the precarious circumstances of his initial impoverishment, but more relevantly, has allowed him to try and win Daisy’s favor. Now that it is financially within Gatsby’s means that he can toss “soft rich heaps” of clothing on his house guests, and has deducted any logical basis as to why Daisy shouldn’t be with him. Fitzgerald now poses an ethical conundrum for Daisy, and provides a plausible rationale to the pertinence of Gatsby’s hard work possibly bringing him closer to his dream of being with Daisy.
In conclusion, F. Scott Fitzgerald gives his audience a glimpse at the benefits that working hard provides for whoever chooses to. It was Gatsby’s initial dream that sparked his need for betterment, but it was the experience of true love that gave Gatsby’s life purpose. Gatsby’s humble beginnings are what instilled in him the necessity for improvement, and since then his life has changed – the connotation of changed is debatable. However, one thing is certain, Gatsby’s hard work has most definitely propelled him closer to his dreams.
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