The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ‘He paid a high price for living too long with a single dream’. Explore the theme of dreams in ‘The Great Gatsby’. How significant is this theme in other American texts you have read?
One of the principle themes of Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ is that of dreams - all inextricably bound to the American Dream. The ideology of spiritual and material success is one that is powerfully explored through Jay Gatsby’s
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Utopia, the term for an ideal society, is derived from Greek words meaning ‘Nowhere’. Gatsby not only captures the utopian dream, but is, in a sense, a utopian figure. Gatsby’s dream to be part of the ‘old money’ social circle forces him to make-up stories, which complete a puzzle of the façade he is trying to create. Nick claims that these stories are ‘like skimming hastily through a dozen magazines’, and although he is seduced by them, he also remains sceptical about their authenticity as he had to ‘restrain [his] incredulous laughter’. Throughout the novel, there is reference to a ‘green light’, which is situated at the end of the Buchannan’s dock. This ‘green light’ becomes symbolic of Gatsby’s dream. The first time Nick sees his neighbour Gatsby, he is alone, with ‘his arms stretched towards the dark water in a curious way’. Gatsby is reaching towards the ‘green light’, stretching his arms out almost trying to capture his dream.
It becomes apparent that Gatsby had been trying to obtain his dream for a long time. When Nick meets Gatsby’s father Mr Gatz, he shows him a ‘schedule’ that Gatsby had made ‘when he was just a boy’ at the back of one of his books. Gatsby’s timetable mirrors that of Benjamin Franklin’s, who is a self-made and self-sufficient man who embodies the American