The American Dream

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  • THE AMERICAN DREAM IN THE GREAT GATSBY
    • The Valley of Ashes
      • A place which depicts the consequences of the self-absorption of the rich.
        • "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money of their vast carelessness"
      • "on the other side of the tracks,"
        • This symbolises the divide between the physically and metaphorically far-apart classes. The poor will never have what the wealthy do, no matter how much effort and change is made.
      • "fantastic farm"
      • "Occasionally a line of grey cars crawls along an invisible track"
      • "ash-grey men swarm up with leaden spades and stir up an impenetrable cloud, which screens their obscure operations from your sight"
    • The Green Light
      • It is Gatsby's inspiration and his aspiration-the unattainable dream.
        • When he was poor, Daisy could not marry him, so he worked hard and achieved the epitome of the American Dream.
          • He literally recreated himself from virtually nothing, he made a lot of money and he surrounded himself with the material possessions which he thinks will entice Daisy to be with him.
        • The dream soon dies, however.
          • "But what he did not know was that it was already behind him, somewhere in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night."
      • Nick philosophically compares the green light to the Pilgrims seeing America for the first time.
      • Once Gatsby connects with her, Daisy's green light no longer burns.
      • "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us."
      • "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
    • East Egg and West Egg
      • East and West Egg are separated to show the difference between new and old money.
      • Fitzgerald comments on the idea that the American Dream is a hoax and one must be born into money in order to reap the benefits.
      • The vast lake sybolizes the vast separation between the classes, even if they intermingle at times.
      • "this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them."
    • The colour BLUE
      • This color does not exist in nature, so it represents an illusory state.
      • In Chapter Three, Gatsby has huge parties every Friday in his "blue gardens [where] men and women came and went like moths,"
      • much that has to do with Gatsby is blue:  his chauffeur's uniform, the dress that he gives to one of his partygoers when hers rips, his first sports jacket after he begins working for Dan Cody
      • In Chapter Two, Myrtle Wilson changes into a blue dress as she plays the role of Tom Buchanan's mistress, the eyes of Dr. Eckleberg are "blue and gigantic."
      • Mr. Wilson, "a blonde, spiritless man, anaemic and faintly handsome." He has "light blue eyes."
    • The colour YELLOW
      • Yellow is fake gold; it's veneer and show rather than substance.
        • We see that with the "yellow cocktail music" at Gatsby's party and the "two girls in twin yellow dresses" who aren't as alluring as the golden Jordan.
      • Gatsby's car, symbol of his desire—and failure—to enter New York's high society.
      • T. J. Eckleburg's glasses, looking over the wasteland of America, are yellow.

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