The novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is about the struggle of achieving the American dream, and how much a person is willing to do to reach it. The book’s focus is on the obsession of Gatsby, the protagonist, and his feelings for Daisy, a married woman who he was previously involved with. The novel also focuses on Gatsby’s determination to make her fall in love with him by the glitz of money and power. Fitzgerald uses the symbols of wealth, superficiality and irresponsibility to convey the idea that the American dream is unattainable. Wealth is a factor that propels the actions of the characters in the novel. In the Great Gatsby, most of the characters are wealthy and are able to do a lot because of their prosperity. Wealth
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Irresponsibility is represented through the symbol of the automobile. It represents the reckless ways of the people in the novel and is even the driving force in the holocaust of the book. The automobile’s destructive ways are first represented at the first Gatsby party as a car is, “violently shorn of one wheel, rested a new coupe which had left Gatsby’s drive not two minutes before,” foreshadowing how an automobile will affect the characters later in the plot. Irresponsibility causes the death of the American dream for the characters. Myrtle Wilson’s American dream is the be with Tom, and is eventually struck and killed by a car because she ran in front of it, showing that she is both irresponsible and unintelligent. Daisy, as the driver of the car, does not suffer the consequences of her behavior. She hides behind Gatsby and does not take responsibility thus killing her dream of being with him which leads to jay’s failed dream.
Through Gatsby’s failed attempt to reach his dream, F. Scott Fitzgerald incorporates the decline of American values. The characters in The Great Gatsby are just mere examples of his message- the old American dream and all of its pure ideals have been replaces with money, superficiality, and irresponsibility. Daisy represented the superficialty and was associated with the green light, symbolizing hope, money and jealousy. As hope is the core of the American dream