In The Great Gatsby, why does Fitzgerald use the words "hope" and "dreams" so often?

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses the terms "hope" and "dreams" throughout the novel to remind readers of the importance of putting one's hope in things that are meaningful and worthwhile. Through Gatsby's dreams of Daisy, he shows the futility of dreaming for things that have been lost in the past.

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Let's first look at a few places where these words are used. (Bold added in the textual examples for emphasis.)

When Gatsby begins to grasp that Daisy really has gone home to Tom following the tragedy with Myrtle, he still clings to the idea of her that he has carried...

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Let's first look at a few places where these words are used. (Bold added in the textual examples for emphasis.)

When Gatsby begins to grasp that Daisy really has gone home to Tom following the tragedy with Myrtle, he still clings to the idea of her that he has carried for so many years. Nick notes,

He wouldn’t consider it. He couldn’t possibly leave Daisy until he knew what she was going to do. He was clutching at some last hope and I couldn’t bear to shake him free.

When Daisy finally stands in his home after all Gatsby's plans that span five years of his life, Nick wonders if he truly realizes Daisy for the very real (and flawed) woman she is:

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.

When Tom exposes Gatsby's wealth as not being reputable enough for Daisy's liking, she begins to slip away from Gatsby:

He began to talk excitedly to Daisy, denying everything, defending his name against accusations that had not been made. But with every word she was drawing further and further into herself, so he gave that up and only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible.

The story Nick tells is Gatsby's story. The plot tells of Gatsby's epic dream to transform his very character in order to attain his greatest desire: Daisy. The story is reflective of the American Dream as well, propelling the message that with hard work, anyone from any background can achieve great success. Yet eventually, Gatsby is forced to realize that even with his material gains, he will never fully become the man Daisy desires. Gatsby seemingly has it all, from extravagant wealth to flashy cars to immense social gatherings—and it still is not enough. Perhaps the message, then, becomes a bit different regarding hopes and dreams. Through Gatsby, readers can see the results of wasted effort by living for the wrong dreams and hoping for the impossible. Gatsby lived for a girl who only existed in the past and missed the realization that the girl he once loved was gone. All of his efforts, focused on the impossibility of reclaiming the mists of their shared history, only led to his destruction. Hopes and dreams are what propel humans forward but should always be checked in terms of personal satisfaction and fulfillment, avoiding "the dead dream" that is "no longer tangible."

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The words "hope" and "dream(s)" are central to Fitzgerald's themes in The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby's undying hope is that he will one day reunite with his beloved Daisy; his dream is that he will prove to her that he is worthy of her love. Gatsby's hopes and dreams underpin his character development, from a lower class Midwesterner to a newly-wealthy New Yorker. His actions are all focused on achieving his dream of winning Daisy back. The two were not able to marry because she was of a much higher social class, and he believes if he can achieve her status through money and influence, he can have her, as well.

The novel is also a critique of the concept of the American Dream—the idea that if one works hard, he can earn whatever he desires. The novel suggests that Gatsby reaches his status through illegal activity, which already throws shade on a positive, pure reading of dream-fulfillment. Further, the novel can be described as a story of disillusionment, one in which characters's dreams are dashed and their hopes left unfulfilled. Certainly, Gatsby's tragic ending and the lack of accountability for the wealthy characters Tom and Daisy, even after the havoc they've wreaked on others, are evidence of the corruption of the American dream.

Fitzgerald probably repeats the words "hope" and "dream" so often to emphasize the ways in which these concepts define the rise and fall of the tragic hero, Gatsby.

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That the words "hope" and "dream" appear so frequently throughout The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a reflection of two of the novel's major themes: the concept of the American Dream and hope itself.

The characters of The Great Gatsby are idealists across the board, though none so much so as the titular Jay Gatsby himself. It is Gatsby's hopes and dreams that have motivated his actions and brought him to his enormous wealth and notoriety. He did it all in the hope of being with Daisy. Gatsby believes in possibilities and second chances, and this belief permeates the novel, as evidenced by the repeated use of the word "hope." Ultimately, however, these hopes are quashed and proved to be futile.

The idea of the American Dream, or the "self-made man," is even more central to the novel and each use of the word "dream" should serve as a reminder of this concept in the reader's mind. In the end, the American Dream is proved to be just that: a dream. The novel dismantles the concept. Though Gatsby does rise to great wealth, it is not through entirely reputable means, and his dreams are unfulfilled as long as he cannot be with Daisy. When Gatsby dies at the end of the novel, his hopes and dreams, and by extension the American Dream itself, die with him.

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Fitzgerald uses the words "hope" and "dream" so often because these are the concepts that define the titular character, Jay Gatsby.  It is his dream of being reunited with Daisy and his hope that she will still love him that motivate him to earn and spend and live the way he does.  Nick describes Gatsby as having an "extraordinary gift for hope" -- he believes in one's ability to relive the past, something most of us think is impossible.  And it wasn't Gatsby's dreams that ruined him in the end, it was the "foul dust" that floated in the wake of those dreams; it is, in part, the other people who are less idealistic than he is, the people who cannot bring themselves to dream or hope as much as he does, that ruin him.  They make the world an impossible place for those who dream and hope as Gatsby does, and it is this impossibility that Fitzgerald seems to mourn the most. 

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As noted in the question, the words "hope" and "dream" appear numerous times throughout F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. One reason these words appear numerous times is the theme of the pursuit of the American Dream. Both "hope" and "dream" exist as necessities within this ideal. One in search of this would hope and dream about a better life. The novel speaks to a time of dramatic change for women and a time of exuberant celebrations (the Roaring Twenties). One's hopes would be that his or her dreams would come true.

For many of the characters, each is in search of their own American Dream. Gatsby is the iconic "self-made man" who fails to see his real success based upon the fact that he cannot have the one thing he desires: Daisy. Materialism is central to the "dream" in the novel. Wolfsheim's dream forces him to gain money criminally; Baker cheats to obtain her dream; others victimize, betray, and murder to obtain and keep their dreams alive.

Without the repetition of the words "hope" and "dream," a reader may not understand just how important the concept of the American Dream really was to the characters. It is through the repetition of these words that drills into the reader that this is what the test is really all about. Fitzgerald is only illustrating, through this repetition, how important success is in obtaining one's dream really is.

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In general, Fitzgerld portrayed characters in his novels and stories who were very idealistic and passionate. They believed in romantic ideas like love at first sight and the integrity of an honest man. These two words hope and dream are key concepts in the novel, especially for Gatsby. He had to believe his dream of being with Daisy would come true, and so he worked tirelessly and key his hope alive. Daisy is a dream, a fantasy, ad Gatsby's desperate, fervent hope is what brings him to her again, via his hard work to become a self-made man of wealth and status and allows him to win her love. Daisy also always hoped she could be with Gatsby again, but the dreamlike quality of their love is revealed when it becomes clear she is not willing to change her life to be with Gatsby alone.

Fitzgerald also contrasted his hopeful characters with the idea that fate and destiny intervene and that bad luck can trump the best intentions. The death of hope and dreams is also a common theme; the loss of youth, the disintegration of love and ambition, these were ways that the hopes and dreams of young characters could be shattered.

 

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