Great

Gatsby Themes

In The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, many themes are enclosed; the most
salient of these themes is related to the American Dream. The American Dream is
based on the idea that any person, no matter what they are, can become
successful in life by his or her hard work. The dream also embodies the idea of
a self-sufficient person, an entrepreneur making it successful for themselves.

The Great Gatsby is about what happened to the American Dream during the 1920s,
an era when the dream had been corrupted by the relentless pursuit of wealth. In
this novel, the pursuit of the American Dream and the pursuit of a romantic
dream are the ultimate causes of the downfall of the book’s title character,

Jay Gatsby. Throughout the story, Jay Gatsby avoids telling the truth of his
hard, unglamorous childhood. He does this to keep his superficial image of
himself and to save himself from the embarrassment of being in a state of
poverty during his youth. His parents were lazy and unsuccessful people who
worked on the farm, and because of this Gatsby never really accepted them as his
parents. Jay Gatsby’s real name is James Gatz and he is from the very
unexciting North Dakota. He changed his name to Jay Gatsby when he was seventeen
years old, which was the beginning of his version of the American Dream. In all
realities Gatsby arose from his Platonic view of himself, the idealistic
self-view that a seventeen year old boy has of himself (Fitzgerald 104). Though
concealed for most of the story, Gatsby’s embarrassing childhood is a major
source of determination in his attempt to achieve the American Dream. During

Gatsby’s early adulthood, he joined the army. He first met Daisy when he was
at Camp Taylor and he and some other officers stopped by her house. He initially
loved Daisy because of her extraordinary house and because many other men had
been with her already. One evening in October, during 1917, Gatsby fell in love
with Daisy Fay, and in turn she fell in love with Gatsby. "Daisy was the first
‘nice’ girl that he had ever known" (Fitzgerald 155). Their love was an
uneasy one at first for Gatsby to comprehend because he wasn’t rich by any
standards and he felt that he wasn’t worthy of Daisy’s affection, but his
uneasiness was uplifted when he and Daisy fell in love and when he found out
that Daisy knew a lot because he knew a variety of things that she didn’t.

Their month of love was physically ended when Gatsby had to go to war, but their
emotional love never ended. As Gatsby performed brilliantly throughout the war,
they wrote each other frequently. Daisy couldn’t understand why Gatsby
couldn’t come home. She wanted her love to be their with her, she needed some
assurance that she was doing the right thing. It didn’t take long for Daisy to
get over Jay because in the Spring of 1918 she fell in love with a rich, former

All-American college football player named Tom Buchanon. This broke Jay

Gatsby’s heart. His love for Daisy was a strong one and he was determined to
get her back. This first love with Daisy had a great impact on his idea of one
of the aspects of achieving the American Dream. Throughout the novel, the reader
is mislead about how Gatsby became wealthy. Gatsby claims on several different
occasions that he inherited his parents’ immense fortune. This is a story that

Gatsby made up in order to keep his self-image up by not letting people know
about his childhood. The truth is that Gatsby got rich by illegal measures. He
was friends with the notorious Meyer Wolfsheim. Meyer Wolfsheim was the
racketeer who supposedly fixed the World Series of 1919. He was Gatsby’s
connection to organized crime, in which Gatsby became rich. Gatsby’s true
sources to richness were selling bootleg liquor in his chain of drug stores and
creating a giant business to get rid of and sell stolen Liberty bonds (Mizener

188). Gatsby’s methods of gaining wealth corrupt the morality of the American

Dream although they help him to achieve it. It did not take long for Gatsby to
attempt to win Daisy back after he returned from the army. Jay Gatsby had this
romantic view of Daisy and himself together and happy forever. He felt the best
way to achieve this idea would be for him to become at least as rich as

Daisy’s husband Tom Buchanon. He knows that the best ways for him