The image of the dream car as a death car is a powerful parallel to the novel's connection to the American Dream. Gatsby 's efforts to rise out of poverty and become a self-made man may seem noble and admirable to many, especially since his main motivation comes from his...
The image of the dream car as a death car is a powerful parallel to the novel's connection to the American Dream. Gatsby's efforts to rise out of poverty and become a self-made man may seem noble and admirable to many, especially since his main motivation comes from his romantic love for Daisy. But if one looks closer at Gatsby's actions, one can see that his achievements are marred by a lack of integrity. He had dishonest and even illegal business dealings, stopping at nothing to become rich. He encourages Daisy to be unfaithful to her husband. The two of them value surface emotions and over what is real and justify their affair as a way to recapture their lost youth.
Gatsby's accumulation of so much wealth is visible is his belongings: his opulent home, his huge and beautiful wardrobe, the gifts he gives Daisy, and the decadent parties he throws. The car is just another example of this wealth. The fact that the car is ultimately what leads to Gatsby's demise is a symbolic expression of the destructive nature of greed and selfishness. Gatsby and Daisy's love is associated with rather shallow emotions and ideas of beauty and wealth. They get caught up in the opulence of the times, surrounded by others who are living beyond their means and who live only for moments of pleasure. Gatsby and Daisy must know deep down that their affair will end in ruin, but they only care about themselves and not about their impact on others. Their reckless behavior sows chaos and ultimately ruins their lives. This is a common theme in other works by Fitzgerald, who himself enjoyed fast wealth and fame in his early career as a writer. The takeaway concerning the American Dream is that it is a fantasy based on outward appearances of wealth or success, when at its root, are desires and ambitions arising from greed, loneliness, envy, or revenge. If Daisy and Gatsby had accepted that they could not find happiness simply by escaping their responsibilities, things might not have ended so tragically for them.
This idea of responsibility is also related to the American Dream and the notion that "with great wealth comes great responsibility." This implies that the measure of success one has can be seen in the things they do to help others who are less fortunate. Gatsby has no interest in helping those he walked over to become wealthy and is only interested in amassing an impressive empire with which to woo Daisy back to him.