The story The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, takes place in the roaring twenties, an era of good times where parties, music and happiness flourished all over the nation. It is the story of a man named Jay Gatsby who is on what he sees as a mission to retrieve his former love Daisy. Gatsby is a poor man who feels that he can win her back, if he achieves enough material wealth. He sees getting Daisy back as part of finally getting his American Dream. His whole life he has been chasing his American Dream of being happy and after he has attained this immense wealth he thinks he can get anything and everything. He becomes corrupt to achieve what he sees as the American Dream.
When he first meets Daisy Buchanan, Gatsby has committed himself to the following of a grail (156). He would do anything in his power to win her love back, after five years of separation. Everything he has done, up to this point, has been directed toward winning Daisy s favor and having her back in his life. The greatest example of his devotion towards Daisy is the mansion he has constructed, a colossal affair by any standard…with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden (9). Once a penniless young man without a past (156), he transforms himself into a self-made millionaire and builds an extravagant mansion without having any background history of family wealth. He also strategically places the mansion across the lake from Daisy s house. From his window, Gatsby can see the blue colored lights of her house. Even though she has married Tom Buchanan and has a daughter, he revalues everything in his house according to the amount of response it draws from her well loved eyes (96).
Gatsby s business dealings are not made clear, but studied, they portray Gatsby as a man with no morals. Just as he did as a young man, Gatsby looks for the easy way. He admits to his neighbor, Nick that he Was in the drug store business (95). The drug store business during prohibition means that the person is a bootlegger. Bootlegging is a highly profitable business and bootleggers are commonly associated with gangsters who commit harsh and cruel deeds.
The society Gatsby wants to be a part of was based on money and power, not faith and love. Daisy and Tom smash up things and creatures and then retreat back into their money or their vast carelessness. (187) Even Gatsby finds himself strained to earn his money through unlawful activities and gambling. He has become accustomed to this glamorous life style so he sees nothing wrong with these activities because they are part of his dream. Tom overlooks Daisy s time with Gatsby as a presumptuous little flirtation, (142), not the true love Gatsby hopes it will be. It is questionable whether Daisy is worth the worship Gatsby bestows upon her. He truly loves her and considers her a Goddess but her shallow, materialistic nature must have tumbled short of his dreams (101) at some point.
Gatsby places more importance on his dreams than on his actual experiences. By doing so he builds up his own imaginary dream world so ideally that he can never accept the fact that Daisy is never going to leave Tom for him. His blindness plays a major role in his character and leads to his ironic death. While he is trying to protect Daisy, Wilson, who is avenging the death of his wife Myrtle, kills Gatsby. Wilson does this in a sudden seizure of anger, after he discovers, mistakenly, that Gatsby was the one to run his wife over in the street. This assumption, of course, is far from the truth. Gatsby dies from a gunshot and floats face down in the middle of his marble pool until his butler discovers his body. For almost five years, his philosophy and his determination keep him, and his dream, alive but sadly enough, he has no way of knowing that these very traits would ultimately kill him. His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him. (189)
From a young age Gatsby corrupts himself because he is distressed with his social status. He always wishes he was born rich, as Nick says, his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents (104). He wants to improve his way of living, but at the same time, he feels that he can t move up in society. When he does more immoral deeds later in his life he tries to justify them by saying that they were all for the love of Daisy. This is not true. He does everything to better his social standing. When he changes his name, he takes the first step towards reinventing himself into a person he saw in his dreams. He is corrupt before he meets Daisy, and he becomes more sinister in his quest to get her back. Daisy seems so unobtainable to him and that makes him want her more and more. Everyone pays a price for what they have done. Gatsby s price is Death.