The limitless possibilities of the American Dream is one comparison between Senator Obama's 2004 speech and The Great Gatsby.
The stories of Barack Obama's father and Jay Gatsby are similar in that both began poor. Born in rural America to poor farmers, James Gatz had a strong dislike for poverty. It left a lasting imprint on his identity. This drives him to remake his identity as Jay Gatsby. Learning from Dan Cody's criminal self-made ways, Gatsby acquires wealth beyond measure, starting with very little and attaining a great deal.
The opening to Senator Obama's speech focuses on life in Africa for Obama's grandfather, who was a "domestic servant." Obama says that his grandfather held the "larger dreams for his son" that incorporated the limitless possibilities of the American Dream realized through education. Sent from Kenya to America to be educated, Obama's own father rose above the level of Obama's grandfather: "Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, America, that's shown as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before him." Because of his grandfather's hard work, diligent savings and private dream, Obama's father, like Gatsby, began with little and attained much. Obama's mom and dad envisioned the same for their son:
My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or "blessed," believing that in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to success.