Because Gatsby himself believes so strongly in his dream of recapturing the love of his youth and enchanting her with his wealth and magnanimity, he grows into an archetypal image; that is, he becomes "the platonic conception of himself,"--"a son of God" as Nick narrates.
- Nick Carraway
In Chapter Five, Nick Carraway comments that after Daisy comes to Gatsby's mansion,
There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams, not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion....He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion, adding to it all the time....No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghastly heart.
In Chapter Six, Nick narrates the history of Jay Gatsby and comments that Gatsby has believed that "the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing" as an "instinct toward his future glory" led Gatsby to attend St. Olaf's college where he stayed just two weeks because he was "dismayed ...at the ferocious indifference to the drums of his destiny."
In Chapter Seven, after his altercation with Tom Buchanan, and Daisy draws into herself, Nick narrates that Gatsby "gave that up and only the dead dream fought on..."
Later in this chapter, Gatsby stands outside in the rain, watching out for Daisy, still believing although, as Nick comments, he is "watching over nothing."
Even further in Chapter Seven, Nick narrates that after his altercation with Tom Buchanan,... Daisy draws "further and further into herself, [and Gatsby] gave that up and only the dead dream fought on...
In Chapter Eight, he tells Gatsby to go away, but Gatsby will not consider it because he cannot leave Daisy. Acknowledging his hold on his dream, Nick narrates,
He was clutching at some last hope and I couldn't bear to shake him free.
Nevertheless, because Gatsby is sincere in his puruance of his dream, unlike the other aimless and purposeless rich, Nick gains an admiration for Gatsby's idealism and tells him,
"They're a rotten crowd....You're worth the whole damn bunch put together."
The inspiration that Jay Gatsby has passed to others gives additional life to his idealized dream, for Nick mediates at the end of the novel in Chapter Nine,
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future ...It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther....
- Jay Gatsby
In Chapter Six, on one night that Nick stays late at Gatsby's they talk together; when Gatsby complains that Daisy has not parted from her husband, Nick tells him to not expect too much since he cannot expect to repeat the past. But, in his idealism, Gatsby disagrees,
"Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!"
- Mr. Gatz
Fiercely proud of his son, Jay Gatsby's father shows Nick pictures that his son has sent him, and he displays a book that his son had as a boy in which he organized his schedule and recorded his resolves. Believing Jay to have been fiercely faithful to his dreams, Mr. Gatz tells Nick,
"I come across this book by accident....It just shows you, don't it?"
Always faithful to his dream, Jay Gatsby becomes, therefore, the tragic figure of the novel who has expended all his energy in the pursuit of a remote and uncapturable dream.