For Fitzgerald, the American Dream began with the first sailors who set eyes on the "green breast" of a new continent and believed they could start anew there. They thought they could rewind the past and start over, correcting all the mistakes made in Europe. This time, they would build society correctly, without the corruption that had tainted European culture.
Gatsby unknowingly represents that particular iteration of the American Dream. He wants nothing more than to roll the clock back five years and start over again with Daisy, as if none of the intervening time had passed. He wants her to give up Tom and marry him. Gatsby feels as if he can take scissors and cut out the time between him last seeing her and now as if it never happened. When Nick tries to tell him it can't be done, Gatsby is incredulous and insists it can.
The dream of righting the wrongs of the past is flawed, because it is impossible to ever truly start over. The baggage of the past comes with us. The novel shows that...
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 613 words.)