The Great Gatsby Themes

What are The Great Gatsby's themes?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald explores a number of themes. Firstly, there is a strong focus on the theme of wealth. This is shown clearly through the settings of East and West Egg, areas in which the wealthiest citizens enjoy and flaunt their wealth. 

Gaining wealth is also an important theme in the story. Gatsby desires wealth, for example, because he believes that it will help him to win back Daisy. This, in turn, leads us to another important theme: love. Remember that love is Gatsby's primary motivator: it is his desire to be with Daisy Buchanan, for instance, that dictates his actions and behavior.

Finally, the American Dream is another key theme in this story. The idea that anybody—regardless of class and status—can achieve his dream is a powerful idea in this story. On the surface, Gatsby appears to achieve this dream since he rises from humble roots to a position of astronomical wealth and influence. His rejection by Daisy, however, and his premature death demonstrate that the American Dream is not quite as achievable as it first seems.