In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, “The Great Gatsby”, Jay Gatsby’s character is a man full of hopes some which he obtained. His greatest hope turned into an obsession. To be with Daisy which required too much for her to say she never loved Tom. His pursuit of perfection in need to validate himself leads to his inevitable demise. Once Gatsby met Daisy, he did not let it go but pursued it for the next five years destined to have her.
When he finally did, it was insufficient. His dedication towards those years was hope.
Gatsby believed in the green light, which represented his hope toward the future. This object is symbolic to the distance from him and daisy. It also symbolizes how close he is towards reaching his goal. The novel states: “Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her.
It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one” (93, Fitzgerald). Once obtained what he had been longing for his constant disregard of the past led to his inability to maintain it.
Gatsby’s other broken hope was the ideal for the “American Dream.” His try to dismiss the past of his poor upbringing would never vanish. It would follow him with each obscure story.
The novel states: “The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God-a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that- and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end” (98). Gatsby’s idea of the American Dream was to gain wealth to receive happiness since Daisy was fascinated by it.
Daisy Fay, born from a wealthy family, is not full of hopes but submitted to the pressure of marriage while still holding love for Gatsby. Despite Tom’s constant affairs, she stays by his side. In this book, she lacks any spoken hopes for herself but only for her daughter Pammy. The novel states: “I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool– that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” (17). Even, though she is unhappy she is unwilling to change anything about it because she is unwilling to give up her lavish lifestyle.
Myrtle Wilson had the greatest hope of them all to be free from the valley of ashes. Her affair with Tom showed she favored a wealthy man and lifestyle. It was a mere escape from her life. The novel states: “Her expression was curiously familiar- it was an expression I had often seen on women’s faces, but on Myrtle Wilson’s face it seemed purposeless and inexplicable until I realized that her eyes, wide with jealous terror, were fixed not on Tom, but on Jordan Baker, whom she took to be his wife” (124). When she saw Jordan, she was taken aback as her reality unveiled.
Nick Carraway, eager to learn the bond business found himself in the conflict between the Buchanans and Gatsby. His hope is the desire to live an elaborate lifestyle without witnessing moral corruption. The novel states: “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life” (35). He is appalled by seeing Tom cheating on Daisy yet doesn’t intervene. Nick tends to overlook his aid in the affair of Gatsby and Daisy. The novel states: “Everyone suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known” (59). His other hope to remain honest, hurts those surrounding him as he keeps secrets that determine the fate of others such as Gatsby. His narration showed the results of wealth were corruption, greed, and death.
Tom Buchanan an aggressive, arrogant, unfaithful man biased towards “old money” has a deceitful intent towards hope. His need to be with his wife and mistress while hoping the two worlds never collide. The novel states: “As for Tom, the fact that he “had some woman in New York” was really less surprising than that he had been depressed by a book. Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory heart” (20). His open affair with Myrtle showed his reckless behavior and lack of concern for the effect of his actions.
Throughout the novel, the reader is captivated by the American Dream. Later the perception of luxury is shattered by its realities through Fitzgerald’s characters. The eyes of Nick bore witness to the careless and reckless lives of old and new money. Giving him the sensibility to escape the grasp of greed and corruption.