What are three scenarios in The Great Gatsby that portray how some characters imagine and live out their dream? What does this suggest about the character's underlying belief about getting ahead...

What are three scenarios in The Great Gatsby that portray how some characters imagine and live out their dream? What does this suggest about the character's underlying belief about getting ahead in life?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In The Great Gatsby, the characters have different ways of expressing and living out their dream lives. Gatsby, for example, is chiefly concerned with winning back Daisy, his lost love. He believes that the only way to achieve this is to become as rich and successful as possible. In Gatsby's scenarios, he throws lavish parties each week in the hope of drawing her in and convincing her of his merit. While the pair are briefly reconnected, Daisy has no intention of leaving her husband, which suggests that Gatsby's dream is ill-founded. But Gatsby believes that money and success are the only way to "recreate the past" and get ahead.

In contrast, for Myrtle, the dream is to escape Wilson's garage and to live like a wealthy socialite in New York. We see this briefly in Chapter Two when she throws a party for her friends and her demeanor is completely changed. For Myrtle, this dream is only possible through being Tom's mistress, but her death brings her dream to a violent end. Her brief life shows that her dream is founded on her desire to escape the humdrum life she has cultivated with Wilson.

Finally, for Nick, the dream is based on building a successful life in New York as a bondsman. But he quickly realizes that life in the city is superficial and materialistic. After Gatsby's death, Nick decides to leave New York because he realizes, through Gatsby's experiences, that dreams often come with a hefty price. This demonstrates that Nick is the most realistic and down-to-earth of all the characters, and it is for this reason that he becomes disillusioned with the idea of the American Dream and of getting ahead more generally. At the end of the novel, therefore, he decides to leave New York and return to his hometown.

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The Great Gatsby

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