Impracticality Of The American Dream In 'The Great Gatsby'

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Gatsby 12 PM Explication These passages from the chapter describe Gatsby’s struggle to reinvent reality. Gatsby, a self-made man, is the epitome of the American dream: he started as a nobody James Gatz, but he aspired a life of wealth, and worked hard to make his dream a reality. F. Scott Fitzgerald, however, draws attention to the limits of the American dream: that a dream is but a dream, separate from reality. Passage one conveys Gatsby’s sentimental attachment to the past and his idealism to change things according to his favor, while passage two talks to the impracticality of the American Dream. Through imagery, symbolism, and diction, the two passages collectively offer a pessimistic critique on opportunity in America: although the American dream can certainly reinvent one’s future, the dream cannot alter one’s past,…show more content…
Earlier in the chapter, Gatsby makes clear that he subscribes to a “platonic conception”, indicating that he disbelieves the value of time in affecting the reality of things. Gatsby upholds this conception as he tricks himself that nothing had happened between Daisy and Tom in these four years, wanting “nothing less of Daisy than that she should go to Tom and say: ‘I never loved you.’” Gatsby wishes that Daisy would “obliterate four years with that sentence”, so that they can resume their relationship where they left off, “just as if it were five years ago”. The verb “obliterate” highlights the intensity of Gatsby’s wishing to return to the past, for that he wants to utterly destroy Daisy and Tom’s history and completely erase Tom’s character as Daisy’s husband. Gatsby, while blinded by his dream, cannot accept the practical-- that time has passed and Daisy is the wife of another guy. Moreover, the natural scenery criticizes Gatsby’s flawed dream: “desolate path of fruit rinds and discarded varos and crushed flowers”; by describing
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