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

He heard of Tolstoy and Whitman, read Booth Tarkington and Shaw, H.G. Wells and Compton Mackenzie, Wilde and Pater, John Masefield and Ruper Brooke to name only a few. It was at Princeton that he wrote the first derafts of This side of Paradise, and by the end of 1917 the novel was already ‘completed’. ‘The symbols that are common to both Gatsby and Daisy are, a large house with a swimming pool, dozens of silk shirts and elaborate parties. But daisy believes in the symbols themselves, and not in the purer reality which (for Jay Gatsby) they only faintly embody’. The Great Gatsby can also to read as a ‘Fable’. Gatsby’s ‘mingled dream of love and money, and the Iron strength of his romantic will, make up the essence of the fable, but the art of its telling is full of astonishing tricks.

To make the rise and fall of a gentleman gangster an image for the modem history of the Emersonian spirit of America was an audacious thing to attempt, but Fitzgerald got away with it. The novel also has element of Myth’. An English critic has comments on what he calls the ‘myth-hunger’ of Americans — the need to ‘create a manageable past out of an immense present’. Again, it has been pointed out: ‘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. From his own American life he knew that with his generation the middle Westerner had become the typical American and had returned from the old frontier to the East with a new set of dreams.

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