What are the goals or dreams of the characters in The Great Gatsby?

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Students of The Great Gatsby are often asked whether the word "great" in the title is intended ironically. What is so great about Gatsby? One might answer "his dream," but the love or, more cynically, the possession of a woman is not a great or original dream. Perhaps what is great about Gatsby is that he achieves the "rags to riches" American dream incidentally, almost without noticing it. Gatsby's dream is to win the love of Daisy. To achieve this, he rapidly acquires large amounts of money. This is itself the goal of most of those who surround him, including Nick Carraway, who has come to New York and become a bond trader in search of "the shining secrets that only Midas and Morgan and Maecenas knew." Nick, and all Gatsby's shady, less successful business associates, aspire to his wealth, which to him is only a means to a greater end.

Daisy and Tom , of course, are already very wealthy. More imaginative, less selfish people might have come up with aspirations of their own, but the novel is...

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