The Great Gatsby Questions and Answers
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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What is Nick Carraway's American Dream in The Great Gatsby and does he fail/achieve his dream? Please refer directly to at least 5 quotes in the book and analyze those quotes.

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Nick Carraway struggles with his fluctuating lack of commitment to the American dream. As a veteran of World War I, Nick has spent time in war-torn Europe and, upon returning home, attempts to try a slightly different path than that which his family laid out for him. He has come to New York to work on Wall Street but is uncertain that is the right place for him. In addition, he left the Midwest in part to escape an attachment to a young woman that everyone believed was turning into an engagement.

Nick likes to think of himself as a principled man, but he mocks his own honesty. Throughout the novel, he attends a party with Tom Buchanan and his mistress, and helps Gatsby—whom he barely knows—set up a meeting with his (Nick's) cousin Daisy, a married woman. Nick makes only modest efforts to get together with Jordan. Ultimately, he is so shaken by the summer’s events, culminating in Gatsby’s death, that he leaves the stock exchange and returns home to retreat from social involvement.

Relevant quotes appear in the chapters mentioned with each one.

In chapter 1, by quoting his father, Nick emphasizes his solid, well-to-do background.

Remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.

Nick explains his job choice and his family’s eventual support:

Everybody I knew was in the bond business…All my aunts and uncles talked it over…and finally said, "Why—ye-es” with very grave, hesitant faces.

In chapter 2, Nick describes his mixed feelings about attending the party with Tom, Myrtle, and others:

I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.

In chapter 3, as Nick contemplates his ambiguous feelings toward Jordan, he realizes he is in over his head with his involvement in the crowd surrounding Gatsby. He cannot stop thinking one phrase:

There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.

In the novel’s beginning, in chapter 1, Nick reflects on what he learned from the experiences in the Eggs:

what preyed on Gatsby…temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.

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