Explain the significance of the last page of The Great Gatsby in relation to Gatsby's dream and to the American Dream.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the final scene of the novel, Nick Carraway walks down Gatsby's beach and thinks about what it must have felt like for the first Dutch settlers to witness the new, green continent before them. He then imagines that Gatsby experienced a similar feeling when he looked out at the green light on Daisy's dock for the first time. Nick connects both the American Dream of the first settlers to Gatsby's dream of winning Daisy Buchanan's heart. Both noble dreams seem capable of attaining but are much more complicated and dangerous than anyone could have predicted.

Nick then comments that while Gatsby's dream seemed to be right in front of him, he did not realize that it was already behind him. Nick views Gatsby as being symbolic of every American citizen, striving to attain their own specific dreams which are actually already lost to the past. Essentially, Nick is commenting on the futility of the American Dream, which does not allow individuals to transcend the present and recreate the past. By...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 552 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team