What is Gatsby's sense of purpose in The Great Gatsby? Jay Gatsby is motivated by his sense of purpose. Could you explain to me this sense of purpose, possibly with quotes?

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ajmchugh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As kmcappello notes, Jay Gatsby is supremely concerned with living the American Dream.  While working as a janitor, Gatsby is invited aboard a magnificent yacht; after just a brief glimpse into the life of the yacht's wealthy owner, Gatsby is determined to have such a life for himself.

More specifically, Gatsby becomes consumed by his determination to win the affection of Daisy, a woman he meets in Alabama.  He is immediately intrigued by Daisy's popularity and wealth, and sets out to be with her.  However, Gatsby's military obligations require him to spend time abroad, and when he returns, he learns that Daisy has married Tom Buchanan in Gatsby's absence.

Gatsby purchases a home in West Egg so that he can be near Daisy, and he throws frequent and lavish parties there in the hopes that she might attend.  At one point, Nick notes that Gatsby pursues Daisy like "the following of a grail," and eventually, Gatsby and Daisy do reunite.

Though the pair do not end up together, Gatsby's purpose in life is to attain the American Dream so that he may be with Daisy.  Impressively, he is not swayed from his path despite the fact that Daisy is with Tom.  Thus, Jay Gatsby is one of the most persistent, driven characters in American literature, as his goal in life is to work hard to find happiness and live the American Dream.

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby's sense of purpose centers completely around Daisy, and his past with Daisy.  Anything else is important only as it contributes to his recapturing Daisy and their past together. 

Gatsby is obsessed with what turns out to be an illusion.  He spends his life trying to recapture a past that...

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kmcappello eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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