According to American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of great is: great (grEt) adj. 1. Remarkable or outstanding in magnitude, degree, or extent. 2. Of outstanding significance or importance. 3. Chief or principal. 4. Superior in quality or character; noble. 5. Powerful; influential. 6. Eminent; distinguished. 7. Grand; aristocratic. 8.Enthusiastic.. Many people have achieved some sort of greatness in today?s society. To be associated with the adjective great is a tremendous compliment. The word defines people or things that are ?remarkable or better than others?. Jay Gatsby, the main character, in the novel The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a remarkable person and certainly signifies the title.
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Jay is a magnanimous and an excellent person because he is more respectable and nicer than many other people of this time. This greatness was not just given to Jay. He becomes great through a series of systematic steps and carefully placed ideas. One major achievement to his magnificentness is his ability to recreate his long lost relationship with Daisy. After not being in touch with her through the years, Gatsby has been able to locate Daisy; this achievement is no easy task. This major, yet small task is only a step to Jay?s special ability to build up his social and financial status. After Jay finds Daisy he knows that he must achieve a great amount of wealth just to see Daisy. He builds up what one would call a sort of empire, making money and saving it, through a strenuous daily routine. He has been abiding by this ?schedule? ever since he was a little boy. He followed these steps to become great. His dad reveals the schedule to Nick:
On the last fly-leaf was printed the word SCHEDULE,….
Rise from bed……………………………………….6.00 A.M.
Dumbbell exercises and wall scaling…..6.15-6.30 ?
Study electricity, etc. ……………………………7.15-8.15 ?
Work……………………………………………………. 8.30-4.30 P.M.
Baseball and sports………………………………4.30-5.00 ?
Practice elocution, poise and how to
attain it………………………………………..5.00-6.00 ?
Study needed inventions………………………7.00-9.00 ?
No waiting time…..
No more smoking or chewing
Bath every other day
Read one improving book or magazine a week
Save $5.00, $3.00 per week
Be better to parents ( Fitzgerald, 181-182).
Gatsby shows that he had a purpose in his schedule, to become great and to achieve the American dream. This plan seems to work. After the war he sees Dan Cody?s life and enjoys it. He then starts to work alone and after a short period of time Gatsby makes plenty of money to build a multi million dollar house across the bay from Daisy. After that, he throws elegant parties, having the mentality that money is not an issue. He does this because he wants to show off his American Dream to others( but most importantly, Daisy). This achievement of prosperity through such a short period of time signifies how superior Gatsby is. Other people of the 1920?s think they are superior too. They show off this superiority by showing off their cars. Becoming rich in America means that one shows their wealth of by way of owning an automobile. The car shows ones status in America. This, for Jay, shows his success in steps to the completion of the American Dream, because he has an array of extravagant cars. The car shows wealth for many, but for Gatsby its signifies his rags to riches story. The car is very significant because it shows the greatness of Gatsby. The automobile is another step in the dream of getting back with Daisy. It shows that he is making a place for himself in the high class, the type of upper class life Daisy lives in. But unfortunately, the car is also his downfall. Eventually the car also is the end of Gastby’s dream.
Daisy?s dream was to be popular and beautiful. Daisy felt that Jay and his house were beautiful. This appreciation shows his greatness to the fullest extent. Because he is almost successful with completing the dream. Daisy shows her approval:
They?re such beautiful shirts,? she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds . ? It makes me fell sad because i have never seen such- such beautiful shirts before.?… ? I adore it!? exclaimed Daisy. ? The pompadour! You never told me you had a pompadour- or a yacht? (98-99).
Once that he knows that Daisy approves, the majority of his American Dream is complete. He has made his way up to greatness. Living in East Egg shows that he is the new rich and has worked for his money. He has been building all of this just for her. And now that she likes it he knows he just has to win her heart back… which he feel wont be that hard. Ill-fatedly , winning her back is much harder than he perceives it to be. He may be able to make his chances better by becoming rich. But he can not make her love him. Not to say he does not try because he tries to convince her (and Tom) that she loves Jay:
He said earnestly. ? It doesn?t matter any more. Just tell him the truth – that you never loved – and it?s all wiped out forever.? She looked at him blindly. ? Why,- how could I love him- possibly?? ?You never loved him!?… The words seemed to be physically in Gatsby… ?Even alone I can?t say that I never loved Tom,? she admitted in a pitiful voice. ?It wouldn’t be true? (140-141).
He really is desperate at this point. He feels that all this greatness has fallen when he needs it the most. He feels this way because his superiority has gotten him through many of rough times but now it has failed him. But with this his dream turns into a nightmare. After this point the novel is changed from Jay?s American Dream to Jay?s reality.
Gatsby does not achieve greatness only for his benefit, but he also fulfills it when he helps Daisy when she is in need of assistance. At the end of the novel Daisy is driving Jays? car when she hits and kills Myrtle Wilson. Jay Gatsby could have easily and just fully blamed it on Daisy because she was in control of the car, which in turn means she is responsible for the death. The vehicular homicide leaves no blame to Jay, none the less he takes the blame for the accident which ultimately takes his life. He loves Daisy so much that he will not turn her in. He will take the blame if he must. The blame is not all he will have to take for Daisy. He will die in her place(technically). The taking of one?s life for someone else, is truly grandiose: ?It was after we started with Gatsby toward the house that the gardener saw Wilson?s body a little way off in the grass, and the holocaust was complete (170).? Now that Gatsby is dead so is the ?holocaust.? The holocaust was all that was built up around him. Without him all the servants leave, Nick moves away, and Daisy and Tom turn into a bunch of nothing. Even after he perishes, his dream, or reality lives on. It lives on through Nick and Jays? dad. Nick writes the novel for him and tell everyone about his greatness, while his dad keeps him in mind and in memory through items like his schedule. At his funeral the false shine of the American Dream gets clouded up by the sadness of the truth. No one attends his funeral. Not even Daisy, the one he dies for. He is great to die with so much prestige yet not great enough to be recognized by anyone of those he help fulfill their dreams ( by letting them come to the parties and live like the rich). Nick and Jays? dad expected more: ?A little before the Lutheran minister arrived from Flushing I began to look involuntarily out the windows for other cars. So did Gatsbys? father. And as the time passed…….Nobody came?(182). The sadness at the end of the novel, exemplifies that not everyone?s American Dream comes to a happy ending. And certainly in the 1920?s everything came to an abrupt and sad ending with the stock market crash of 1929.
For most Americans the American Dream is to be rich and ?happy?, Gatsby gets all this but his dream is not complete. Unfortunately he did not fully accomplish his. He still anticipated for more dreamy days at the time of his death. These days included a life with Daisy. His greatness stands for us and others but to himself, the great Gatsby fails at the true thing he wants to be great at…which is true love, and in turn the completion of his dream.