Explore the concept of ‘The American Dream’ in The Great Gatsby.

‘If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay’ said Gatsby. ‘You always have a green light that bums all night at the end of your dock’. Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. The last lines of the novel make the point quite clear when Nick Carraway ends the story of Gatsby : And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.

He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther . . . And one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. His own romantic spirit felt deeply what an Englishman has called the ‘myth-hunger’ of Americans, our modem need to ‘create a manageable past out of an immense present’. The poignant effect of the final, highly complex image of the novel, when Gatsby’s dream and the American dream are identified, shows how deeply saturated with feeling Fitzgerald’s historical imagination was.

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