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The “ladder” signifies success. Even in the 1920s when Fitzgerald wrote the novel, the American Dream embodied the metaphor of a ladder, which signified possibility: success was available for those willing to make the climb “the ladder of success.” “Ladder” necessarily involves a vertical climb, and so it is interesting Gatsby imaginatively transforms the pattern of a horizontal sidewalk into this vision. Significantly, Daisy helps to create this vision, indicating the ways in which Fitzgerald weaves together the myth of success with the myth of the ideal woman, so that gaining the latter enables gaining the former as well. One does not have full meaning without the other.
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