Dust In The Great Gatsby

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“Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest” (2). So declares Nick, the narrator of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Gatsby’s desire for idealized love is the “it” that preys on him. The “foul dust in the wake of his dreams” leads him to believe that he can only attain Daisy through money and status. Despite his low class origin, he makes it his mission to become rich and upper-class. Once he gains money through suspicious means, he creates an entire persona that seems to embody the essence of wealth and power. But eventually, his charismatic persona is undone by Tom’s belief that Gatsby is bootlegging. Gatsby’s wealth does not prevent him from losing Daisy; in fact, the suspicious nature behind his “new-money” causes Gatsby to sink into a defeated state and lose Daisy forever (4). Despite his shattered state, Gatsby refuses to accept the loss of his imagined ideal and instead chooses to protect Daisy, leading to his death. Even lower-class characters, such as Myrtle, are obsessed with status. She is willing to do anything to be part of the elite, even betray her husband and act as a mistress for Tom. Her ultimate motive is not to be loved though; it is to forever stay amongst the elite. But she, too, meets with her demise when she refuses to stay in her social class. Because such seemingly different characters …show more content…
How can these factors alone cannot explain the tragedies at the heart of The Great Gatsby. How can love, wealth, and power be to blame when characters such as Daisy, who although obsessed with power and money, end the novel safe and basically untroubled? What separates her from doomed characters such as Gatsby and Myrtle? The answer lies not in the seductive power of love, wealth, and power, but in the gap between the illusion they represent and the reality they cover

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