A dream is an intangible paradise. In the heavenly world of a dream, all hopes are within reach, and time knows no defined direction. To dream is to believe in the existence of the limitless realm. To dream is to be consumed by the passion and beauty of life, for although a dream may never become a reality, the true substance of a dream is its place in the heart. Jay Gatsby is a dreamer. He believes that the future can return him to his past and to his love, Daisy. Time blocks Gatsby’s dream, for Daisy has made Gatsby a mere memory by marrying Tom Buchanan. Tom and Daisy have minor conflicts with time that parallel Gatsby’s principal struggle with time, yet Gatsby’s dream emerges as the distinguishing factor of his conflict. When
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Such dreams as Gatsby’s seem without hope, but explaining how a dream always contains some form of possibility, critic Kenneth Eble writes, "[. . .] the vision is not in itself false; and the truth does gleam there at the center [. . .]" (36: 94). As its "truth" (Eble 36: 94), Gatsby’s mind takes Daisy from reality and places her into a great dream that can never exist because Daisy will never remain exactly as he dreams her. Gatsby’s hope that in the future he can repeat the past places him in conflict with time, for he is trying to return to the past, where fragments of what became his dream survive. Somewhere in time, these fragments of Gatsby’s dream wait patiently, silently, knowing that they can never be found.
Even though achieving the former magnificence of the foundations of his dream is impossible, Gatsby strives to relive his past with Daisy. From the instant he falls in love with Daisy, all of Gatsby’s actions are directed toward overcoming the barriers that separate them. As a poor boy in love with the wealthy Daisy, Gatsby overcomes the obstacle of money by partaking in illegal activities, and finally after acquiring ample means, the Jay Gatsby of colossal parties can compete for Daisy’s love. In this respect, Gatsby’s attempt to transform his dream into a fact of life is faulty (Raleigh 102), and by working in the present so that his future can contain the past, Gatsby engages in a conflict with time. While