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The Great Gatsby: The Demise of Two Dreams Essay

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While there are numerous themes throughout the text of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the most prominent is that of the American Dream. The American Dream is the idea that any person, no matter what he or she is, or from where he or she has come, can become successful in life by his or her hard work; it is the idea that a self-sufficient person, an entrepreneur, can be a success. In this novel, however, it is the quest for this ‘dream’ (along with the pursuit of a romantic dream) that causes the ultimate downfall of Jay Gatsby.
Throughout the book, Gatsby avoids the reality of his simple, difficult childhood in efforts to avoid the embarrassment of having lived in
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Once he returned from abroad, it did not take long for Gatsby to attempt this. He knew that Daisy was a shallow woman, easily overwhelmed by material items, and thus the best way for him to gain her affection was to flaunt his wealth (which he did by throwing lavish parties). With Nick’s help, Gatsby and Daisy were reunited and Gatsby, given another chance to show off his wealth and win her back. He used this meeting to show Daisy what he had become. She was amazed by the extravagance of his house and when he threw his imported shirts around the room, she began to cry because she realized that she had missed out on much of his life. It was at this moment, when the dream that he had strived for was right in front of him, that he realized that Daisy was not as perfect as he remembered her. This was clearly evident to Nick who thought “there must have been moments […] when Daisy fell short of his dreams – not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything” (101). At this point, it becomes apparent that Gatsby’s dream can no longer be fully achieved; yet it is being achieved because he is finally back with Daisy, even though she is still with Tom.
From this point on, Gatsby’s American Dream begins to unravel. Tom, suspecting Daisy of cheating on him with Gatsby, makes some investigation of his affairs and begins to
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