What is the central question being asked in The Great Gatsby?  

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mdelmuro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The central question in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is whether the elusive American Dream can ever be achieved. The second to final paragraph of the novel illustrates this question clearly:

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms further . . . And one fine morning—"

Gatsby's green light included two things: 1. Wealth and 2. Daisy. Just having one of the two was not good enough for Gatsby. However, both his wealth and his relationship with Daisy were illusions. Gatsby probably never had as much wealth as his mansion suggested, but was rather a central figure in a larger criminal scheme. However, even if his wealth was legitimately gained, he was never going to be able to have Daisy as his, no matter his wealth, the fact that he wasn't always rich reduced his status in her eyes. 

With The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald's major comment is this: wealth and status in America are illusory, but people try to reach that illusion every day. But how can one achieve an illusion?

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The Great Gatsby

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