The Great Gatsby: What the Heroes of the Novel Dream of

The American Dream for Daisy and Myrtle is to be married to a man with deep pockets. Gatsby wants to become rich and use his wealth to bring back Daisy. George Wilson desires to move West with Myrtle. The American Dream in ‘The Great Gatsby’ is wealth and love but portrayed as failure for the impoverished people like Myrtle, George, and Gatsby.

Daisy wants to live a rich life and be married to a wealthy man. She likes Gatsby because she thinks he is rich. When Gatsby leaves for the war, Daisy married Tom because he is the same social class. She is in love with Tom but falls in love with Gatsby again when she sees his mansion and affluence. Myrtle began an affair with Tom because of his money and high social class. She reveals why she doesn’t like Mr. Wilson and says, “The only crazy I was when I married him. I knew right away I made a mistake. He borrowed somebody’s best suit to get married in, and never even told me about it, and the man came after it one day when he was out” (35).

Gatsby has two dreams, to gain opulence and Daisy’s love. Gatsby’s parents, the Gatz were penurious farmers. He seeks any and all opportunities to become rich over a period of five years. He starts living in a mansion that has a rent of “twelve or fifteen thousand a season” (Fitzgerald 5). He owns a big yellow car and many servants. Gatsby shows his shirts of extortionate prices to attract Daisy. The green light on Daisy’s dock represents Gatsby’s dream of having Daisy. When he looks at it, he hopes to win Daisy’s heart. “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward —and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far way, that might have been the end of a dock” (21). Gatsby gets Daisy for a while which represents the American Dream where everyone can get what they want by working hard.

George Wilson loves his wife Myrtle. “He was his wife’s man and not his own” (136). His American Dream is to be loved back by Myrtle and become successful by hard work. He desires to buy Tom’s coupé so that he can stop Myrtle’s affair with Tom by moving West. Despite his hard work, his American Dream fails. He commits suicide after Myrtle’s death.

The characters in the novel dream of wealth and love. Tom and Daisy who were wealthy from the beginning remain unaffected. Myrtle, George, and Gatsby who sought wealth die. George who worked hard to be successful died without getting the ripened fruit after all his labor. Gatsby who did everything he could to get Daisy fails and she doesn’t even come to his funeral. The concept of the American Dream in this book is flawed because not all hard working individuals achieve success.