Roaring Twenties And American Dream
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Roaring Twenties And American Dream
During the Roaring Twenties, American lifestyles changed dramatically. Money was
abundant and people were going out and having fun. All of this wealth and
socializing contributes to the "American Dream". Jay Gatsby, the main
character of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald symbolizes everything about
this dream. Gatsby thinks money is the answer to all his problems and desires.
This includes the woman he loves, Daisy. Jay Gatsby has the best of everything:
the nicest car, the best clothes, the biggest house, and the liveliest parties.
The car during the twenties was the most important status symbol. Gatsby’s car
is one of the most expensive, magnificent cars created then. Nick Carraway is in
awe the first time he sees it: "I’d seen it. Everybody had seen it. It was a
rich cream color, bright with nickel, swollen here and there in its monstrous
length..." (68). Gatsby is able to make Tom Buchanan jealous with his car. Tom
takes the car into the city and tries to insult Gatsby, "I’ll take you in
this circus wagon" (128). It is Gatsby’s dream, his marvelous car that
shatters Tom’s dream. Gatsby’s car hit Tom’s mistress, Myrtle Wilson and
kills her instantly. Jay attempts to hide his car: "... he gave instructions
that the open car wasn’t to be taken out under any circumstances" (169). He
tells Nick that no one saw him returning to his house. Nick gets angry at this
because everyone knew the color of the car: "I disliked him so much by this
time that I didn’t find it necessary to tell him he was wrong" (151).
Gatsby’s dream car is what indirectly leads to his death. Jay Gatsby buys his
huge mansion at West Egg in order to be directly across from Daisy Buchanan’s
house. While he is at the Buchanan’s house, he points this out to Tom:
"Gatsby’s eyes followed it momentarily; he raised his hand and pointed
across the bay. ‘I’m right across from you.’" (124). Tom is again
overcome with jealousy. The way Nick describes Gatsby’s house helps the reader
it’s size and beauty: "...it was a factual imitation of some Hotel de Ville
in Normandy, with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw
ivy, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden"
(9). Gatsby asks Nick to have Daisy over for tea, just so she can see his house.
Appearance means everything to Gatsby. In his attempt to win Daisy’s love, he
decided to wear his best outfit: "Gatsby in a white flannel suit, silver shirt
and gold colored tie hurried in" (89). He invites Nick and Daisy over to give
them a tour of his house. Everything in every room is pointed out and explained.
In his room he opens his closet and dumps out all his shirts onto the floor.
Daisy cries in frustration when she realizes he is what she wants him to be:
"’It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts
before" (98). Daisy can not understand how Gatsby can live in such a huge
house all by himself: "’...I don’t see how you live there all alone’"
(96). Gatsby is a very lonely person. Although he "keep[s] it always full of
interesting people, night and day" (96) he doesn’t quite fit in with
everyone. Many people who attend his parties have no idea who he is. At his
parties, he is usually alone somewhere observing everyone: "...standing alone
on the marble steps and looking from one group to another with approving eyes.
Although to some it seems like Gatsby is fulfilling his dream, money can not buy
his happiness. Jay Gatsby’s dream revolves around recapturing Daisy’s love
for him. Daisy Buchanan does fall in love with Jay Gatsby. She does not marry
him and marries Tom instead because he "was poor and she was tired of waiting
for [him]" (137). At first, Gatsby is able to catch Daisy in the thrill of
being changed. She begins to have an affair with him and wants him all to
herself: "...some authentically radiant young girl who with one fresh glance
at Gatsby, one moment of magical encounter, would blot out those five years of
unwavering devotion" (115). Although Gatsby’s wealth drew Daisy closer to
him, his money would never keep her. Daisy gets tired of men deciding everything
for her and breaks down: "’Oh, you want too much! I love you now – isn’t
that enough? I can’t help what’s past. I
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The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Draft:FATAL SENTIMENTAL LOVE RELIGION IN THE GREAT GATSBY
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