One passage that lends itself to the symbolic view of the American Dream occurs when Nick goes to Gatsby's first party. He reports:
I believe that on the first night I went to Gatsby's house I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited - they went there" (p. 45)
This quote shows the need for fame and success within the American Dream. It did not matter to Gatsby if he knew these people, only that they were there. He felt successful simply because many people were there. The American Dream tells us we need others to view our success in order to be successful.
A second quotation can used to discuss the idea that people who achieve the American Dream are symbolically alone. They are surrounded by many people, but no one really knows them or their story.
"A sudden emptiness seemed to flow now from the windows and the great doors, endowing with complete isolation the figure of the host who stood on the porch, his hand up in a formal gesture of farewell" (p. 60)
Gatsby is standing there, simply waving goodbye to everyone, even as there is a great commotion concerning a drunk man and his motor vehicle accident. Gatsby is removed from these people; they are speaking with each other and making some attempt to care about or help the man. Gatsby does not even notice; he is too busy saying goodbye and proving he is formal and a picture of the American Dream. But he is left, bathed in light from the house, as a man standing alone with no one and nothing about once those guests - the majority of whom he does not even know - have left.
Both of these quotes symbolize to the American Dream and the negative impact it has on people.