I have an essay to do on the American Dream in The Great Gatsby?

The question relates to how Jay Gatsby embodies both the hopes and failures of the dream. I have to include context but I'm not sure what to include excluding the American Dream itself. Help?

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One Answer to “I have an essay to do on the American Dream in The Great Gatsby?”

  1. oncography says:

    The first chapter of The Great Gatsby brings to our attention the first symbol in this book – that mysterious green light. In our first acquaintance with the light, we see Gatsby reaching out for it, almost, in a way, worshiping it. We find out later that this green light is at the end of Daisy’s dock, and is a symbol for Gatsby’s dream and the hope for the future. Green is the color of promise, hope, and renewal – so it is fitting that Gatsby’s dream of a future with Daisy be represented physically in the novel by this green light. Later, in the final chapter of this novel, Fitzgerald compares Gatsby’s green light to the “green breast of the new world” comparing Gatsby’s dream of rediscovering Daisy to the explorer’s discovery of America and the promise of a new continent. However, Gatsby’s dream is tarnished by his material possessions, much like America is now with our obsession with wealth. The means corrupt the end, and Gatsby’s dream dies because of Daisy, Gatsby, and Tom’s carelessness and superficiality, as does Gatsby for the same reasons.At the end of the first chapter we are given the green light, a symbol for the hope and promise of the future. At the beginning of the second chapter, however, we are introduced to the “foul wasteland” of the present. Fitzgerald calls it a “valley of ashes” where only the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg look over it from a billboard nearby. This section of the novel can be interpreted as the foul, material-driven world that the main characters live in, and which helps to destroy Gatsby’s dream.