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What is the main point of the Great Gatsby? How does it symbolise the "American Dream"...

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jcallahan123 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 12, 2011 at 6:08 PM via web

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What is the main point of the Great Gatsby? How does it symbolise the "American Dream" and what is it exactly?

What is the main point of the Great Gatsby? How does it symbolise the "American Dream" and what is it exactly?

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 12, 2011 at 9:02 PM (Answer #2)

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Many readers and critics have suggested that the major theme in Gatsby is that of the American Dream and the false nature of it.  In the character of Jay Gatsby, Fitzgerald creates the idea of a man who has reinvented himself through hard work and intense focus on amassing the wealth and position necessary to pursue his love of Daisy and to win her back from her current husband Tom.  His dream is that through his reinvention of himself he will be able to convince her to leave Tom and join him.

The idea of rising from a humble background to whatever success one desires is a powerful part of the idea of the "American Dream," and though Gatsby fails, and some point to the novel as being critical of the American Dream, the representation is still considered a powerful one and an accurate one.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 6, 2012 at 1:34 AM (Answer #3)

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I read The Great Gatsbyas a novel concerned with identity. This theme is central to Nick's narrative, both relating to himself and to Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan. The questions of authenticity and personal integrity are explored and rank above the other questions of wealth and morality and, to me, represent a context which situates the notions of wealth and morality in the narrative. 

Without an exploration of identity, the meaning of the pursuit of wealth would be drastically different and "merely" material. Within the context of identity, the pursuits of wealth and happiness are given nearly spiritual significance and become profound in their relationship to the people who populate The Great Gatsby. 

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