Gatsby s destruction is caused by his inability to let go of a dream which cannot be realized: possessing Daisy Buchanan. He does not care so much for the person herself as the ideal she represents to him: true love and happiness. In the hopes of attracting Daisy, and in the hopes of becoming happy, Gatsby amasses a vast horde of wealth, and throws extravagant parties frequently: “At least once a fortnight a corps of caterers came down with several hundred feet of canvas and enough colored lights to make a Christmas tree of Gatsby s enormous garden. On buffet tables, garnished with glistening hors d oeuvre, spiced baked hams crowded against salads of harlequin designs and pastry pigs and turkeys bewitched to a dark gold” (page 44) Such grandeur would be more than adequate to please most people, but not Gatsby. He cannot be happy until he is with the ideal woman, in the ideal relationship. Gatsby s greatest strengths as a character, and his greatest weaknesses, are his ambition, tenacity and discipline. At the end of the novel, we see that Gatsby has been this way since he was a child. His father comes upon one of his “resolve sheets” that he used to make. It reads: “Rise from bed 6:00 A.M. Dumbbell exercise and wall scaling 6:15-6:30 Study electricity, etc 7:15-8:15 Work 8:30-4:30 Baseball and sports 4:30_5:00 (p.181) and so on. This, as Gatsby s father says “Just goes to show you” (page181). It shows the reader that Gatsby was always destined for a lifestyle of wealth, but never destined to enjoy it. From childhood, Gatsby has been disciplined, ambitious, and tenacious. He was unwavering in his dedication to certain goals. Unfortunately, Gatsby s ultimate goal was unattainable.
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Daisy comes from a family of great wealth and “old money”. She is a member of an elite society of rich, snobbish people. Although she did not love her husband, she values the status and protection he provided for her. If she left Tom for Gatsby, she would lose this status and protection. Gatsby, although he is rich, is not “old rich”. Because of this, he is looked down upon by members of Daisy s class. Consequently, she would not leave her status for someone who she cared for. She thought her social obligations more important than Gatsby s “true love”. The arrogance of her class comes across as Tom talks to Gatsby, who is probably more rich than he is, but not of the older aristocratic class: ” She s not leaving me. Certainly not for a common swindler who d have to steal the ring he put on her finger” (page 140). This makes his dream an impossible one. Gatsby takes the blame for the killing of Myrtle Wilson, even though Daisy was driving the car. This seems to be a last attempt to convince her of his love. After the accident, Nick tells Gatsby that Myrtle was killed. He responds: “I thought so; I told Daisy so. It s better that the shock should come all at once. She stood it pretty well………..She ll be all right tomorrow” (pages191-192). After this unfortunate incident, George Wilson, Myrtle s husband, shoots and kills Gatsby. He dies, very much the man of valor, in indirect defense of the woman he loves. Even before his shooting, however, Gatsby is doomed. His dream is dead, and in a sort of sad parody of watching the green light, he stands and gazes at the house Daisy and Tom share. “So I walked away and left him standing there in the moonlight- watching over nothing.” (page 153).