Discussion of thematic elements/plot ideas having to do with The Great Gatsby.What thematic element/plot idea of The Great Gatsby does this refer to: "A man, changed by his experiences, packs his...

Discussion of thematic elements/plot ideas having to do with The Great Gatsby.

What thematic element/plot idea of The Great Gatsby does this refer to: "A man, changed by his experiences, packs his bags and heads home, his dreams crushed"?

Answers are much appreciated, and thanks in advance :)

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that the quote featured links very strongly to Fitzgerald's discussion of the American Dream.  The manner in which he displays and shows Gatsby's unrelenting belief in his accomplishment of the American Dream, there is almost a belief that if Gatsby does not embody all aspects of his dream, there is a sense of failure attached to it.  His idealism and faith in his own presentation of the American Dream almost prevents him from embracing his own limitations within it.  It is this idealism that prevents him from understanding that he might be used as a means to an ends by the Toms and Daisys as well as the Jordans of the world.  In the quotation, Gatsby would not accept the idea of "being crushed" as it goes against his notion that human freedom in America is limitless, just as the dreams it facilitates.  There is a sense of despair in the quote that Gatsby, at his height of belief, would never be able to fully accept.  It is something that Nick comes to understand though in the course of the narrative.

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