An Analysis of The Final Scene in The Great Gatsby

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About this sample


Words: 591 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 591|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraph
  3. Conclusion


"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a seminal piece of American literature that captures the essence of the Jazz Age and the elusive nature of the American Dream. One of the most poignant moments in the novel is its final scene, which encapsulates the themes of hope, disillusionment, and the inexorable passage of time. In this essay, we will analyze the concluding scene of "The Great Gatsby," exploring its symbolism, thematic significance, and its commentary on the broader societal context of the 1920s. By dissecting the final passages, we can gain deeper insights into the characters' ultimate fates and the novel's enduring message.

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Body Paragraph

The final scene of "The Great Gatsby" takes place after the tragic death of Jay Gatsby, the enigmatic millionaire whose life and aspirations form the crux of the narrative. Nick Carraway, the novel's narrator, reflects on the futility of Gatsby's dreams as he stands on the shore of Long Island Sound, gazing at the green light on Daisy Buchanan's dock. The green light, a recurring symbol throughout the novel, represents Gatsby's longing and unattainable dreams. In this scene, the light takes on a dual meaning: it symbolizes both the hope that drove Gatsby and the ultimate illusion of the American Dream. Nick's contemplation of the green light underscores the central theme of aspiration versus reality, suggesting that the dreams of wealth and success that Gatsby pursued were always just out of reach, a mirage in the distance.

Fitzgerald’s use of the setting in the final scene is equally significant. The desolate shore and the vast expanse of water evoke a sense of isolation and the inexorable passage of time. Nick's reflection that "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us" captures the essence of Gatsby's unwavering optimism and the tragedy of his steadfast belief in a dream that was doomed from the start. This imagery reinforces the novel's critique of the American Dream, highlighting the disparity between the idealized vision of success and the harsh realities that often accompany the pursuit of such dreams.

Moreover, the final lines of the novel, "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past," encapsulate the cyclical nature of human endeavor and the inevitability of returning to our origins. This metaphor suggests that despite our efforts to move forward and attain our aspirations, we are continually pulled back by the weight of our past experiences and the relentless flow of time. This notion is particularly relevant to Gatsby's character, whose obsessive fixation on recreating his past romance with Daisy ultimately leads to his downfall. The final scene, therefore, serves as a poignant commentary on the futility of trying to escape one's past and the inherent limitations of the American Dream.

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In conclusion, the final scene of "The Great Gatsby" is a masterful culmination of the novel's themes and symbolism. Through Nick Carraway's reflections and the evocative imagery of the green light and the desolate shore, Fitzgerald poignantly captures the essence of the American Dream as an elusive and ultimately unattainable ideal. The scene underscores the central motif of aspiration versus reality, illustrating the disillusionment that often accompanies the relentless pursuit of success. Furthermore, the metaphor of boats against the current serves as a powerful reminder of the cyclical nature of human endeavor and the inescapable influence of the past. By analyzing the final scene, we gain a deeper understanding of the characters' ultimate fates and the novel's enduring message about the complexities of the American Dream and the human condition.

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An Analysis of the Final Scene in The Great Gatsby. (2024, Jun 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“An Analysis of the Final Scene in The Great Gatsby.” GradesFixer, 07 Jun. 2024,
An Analysis of the Final Scene in The Great Gatsby. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2024].
An Analysis of the Final Scene in The Great Gatsby [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 07 [cited 2024 Jul 20]. Available from:
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