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Analysis of Fitzgerald’s Depiction of The Decline of Jay Gatsby’s American Dream

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Money, success, and happiness seems to always be interconnected to each other, especially within the American Dream. Remarkably, the American Dream used to encompass comfort, freedom, and opportunity. However, as America became prosperous, the American Dream gradually transformed into the idea that happiness is contingent on money and success. The novel The Great Gatsby illustrates Jay Gatsby chasing the American dream, only to find himself failing to reach it. Despite his relentless pursuit of his object of his obsession, Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby’s incessant efforts are ruined by money and pleasure, inevitably resulting in looming tragedy. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald utilizes flashbacks to display the decline of the American dream that becomes full of materialism, all about wealth and status which marks success.

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In chapter 4, F. Scott Fitzgerald presents Gatsby’s earlier account of his past when he meets Daisy. Jordan begins to recall when she first met Gatsby with Daisy and how they fell in love. She tells Nick that one ‘October day in nineteen- seventeen’ she came across Daisy’s Fay’s house which had the ‘largest of the banners and the largest of the lawns’. Jordan also outlines that Daisy ‘was just eighteen’. When Jordan came opposite her house that morning, she saw an officer and Daisy engrossed in each other. She persists that the offier’s ‘name was Jay Gatsby and I didn’t lay eyes on him again for over four years’. However, Daisy ‘married Tom Buchnana of Chicago’ who ‘came down with a hundred people in four private carss, and hired a whole floor of the Seelbach Hotel’ instead of Gatsby. She was too tired waiting for Gatsby who had gone to the war, but predominantly, she yearned more wealth which Gatsby didn’t have. The history of Daisy’s acquaintance with Gatsby demonstrates Gatsby’s lingering in the past. He sees her- his American Dream as an ultimate prize of achieved glory and success. His obsession rather than love for Daisy, makes him believe that he can only get her by wealth and status; it prevents him from realizing that he can’t build a future with her by shedding other complications and connections.

In chapter 6, F. Scott Fitzgerald reveals how Gatsby flashbacks to how he got his name and what his childhood was like to Nick. Jay Gatsby, originally called James Gatz, had ‘changed his it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career’. His parents were failed farmers, and coincidentally, Gatsby warned Dan Cody, a copper and silver mine millionaire on his yacht. He was hired as an assistant to Cody for five years. As they sailed around, he experienced a glamorous life separated from his life in North Dakota, and James Gatz learns how to be Jay Gatsby. 

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The past of Gatsby substantial childhood depicts that Gatsby was inspired by Cody who had so much wealth and status, and strived to become another identity which also became an invention of Cody: Jay Gatsby. His declining American Dream gradually transitions into a dream full of materialism. 

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