Why is Gatsby's dream, symbolized by the green light, bound ultimately to fail?The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The difference between the "fresh, green breast" of America when the Dutch arrived to which Nick alludes in the conclusion of The Great Gatsby and the artificial light on Daisy's pier for which Gatsby yearns seems to indicate the way in which Gatbsy's dream is satirized. For, like the light, Gatsby's dream of having Daisy, too, is artificial.  Built upon illusions of identity (both Daisy's and Gatsby's), false values of wealth, and social position, Gatsby's dream is as ephemeral as its components.

Foolishly, Daisy merely dallies with Gatsby, for she is incapable of true emotion. She possesses a voice that "sounds like money" and only a gilded personality whose center appears gold, like the flower for which she is named, but whose petals are white, the absence of color or substance.  Thus, it is only Gatsby's power to dream that makes it great, not the objects of his dream. His party guests are transitory, his friends unreliable, his identity an imitation. So, while he is "worth the whole d--- bunch," his dream cannot be realized because what he desires is merely an illusion.


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