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Your Turn: Jay Gatsby

From The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nominated by Denise Abbe

Jay Gatsby epitomizes the American Dream. Here is a man who grew up in poverty, always wanting to be somebody, meeting the love of his life in Louisville before leaving to fight in World War I, having that woman (Daisy) profess her love for him and promising that she would wait for him ... only to find her later married to Tom Buchanan while Gatsby fought overseas.

Gatsby then reinvents himself, from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby, a millionaire (through rather suspicious means involving bootlegging and other various criminal dealings). Gatsby's dream soon disintegrates (Fitzgerald's possible commentary on the destruction of the American dream in the 1920s). Some people may see Gatsby as an ideological man who gave everything for nothing. I see him as man who did everything he could to achieve what he believed was the American Dream. Who could not admire that?

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I completely agree with the statement above. Jay Gatsby worked very hard to get what he felt was the American Dream. Fitzgerald did a great job of emphasizing what a big deal the American Dream really is by having James Gatz turn himself into Jay Gatsby. Completely renovating himself enabled him to come closer to what he felt was the American Dream.

However, I do feel that in the book Gatsby spends so much time and effort into achieving the American Dream, he forgets what he's even trying to get out of life, he missed his chance with Daisy and that's all he focused his life on. This highlights the way Americans can get too caught up in their own ways to really see what is going on around them.

Overall, Jay Gatsby is an all around great character, and teaches his readers that the American Dream might not be all it's cracked up to be.

Sent by Tori Belkin | 8:37 PM | 3-30-2008

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