The Great Goethe Great Gatsby essentially tells the story of an overly wealthy group of New Yorkers trying to deal with the fact that they can’t have what they want. Although they may know this fact, they still try to the best of their ability to reach their unattainable goals. The overwhelming theme that connects us to the book, in my opinion, is the power of hope.
Each of the characters, whether it be Gatsby, Daisy, Wolfishly or George Wilson, in different ways and in different situations, experience the difference between their desires and their realized experiences, between what they imagine for themselves and what their lives are really like.
Hope is the only thing that helps these characters from moving forward with their aspirations and not be overcome by the inevitable obstacles that lay in the way. The theme of hope is applicable to all, not just the characters in the novel.
Everyone faces obstacles In life but the hope of success keeps us from not quitting, similar to Gatsby being stubborn in making his own destiny and not being Intimidated by the obstacles.
Jay Gatsby conveys this theme more than any of the other characters, and to a point that It becomes the reason for his unfortunate death. Gatsby had so much hope that he was going to be with Daisy that he had built his life around the idea. His elaborate parties, his enormous house, his flashy clothes, were all for Daisy. This brings readers, myself included, to feel compassion towards Gatsby for his goals were admirable although impossible.
His hopes of this self-made destiny come from his love of Daisy, which in turn is the reason he took responsibility of Daisy’s mistakes that resulted in Myrtle’s death, which in turn lead to Myrtle’s husband George shooting and killing Gatsby. Therefore his tragic death can be traced back to his unhealthy hope of this unattainable future he had planned based on the past. In the closing statements of this novel Nick Caraway best describes this characteristic of Gatsby, and his hope of reliving his past with Daisy.
Gatsby believed In the green light, the orgasmic future that year by year recedes before us. It has eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther … And one fine morning – So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. ” (180) These words conclude the novel and return to the theme of hope, which in Gatsby case is the hope to relive the past. The green light is to Gatsby a symbol of his goal, of being with daisy as he was five years ago, and his hopes to achieve it.
Fitzgerald focuses on, in this story, the struggle of human beings achieving their goals especially ones that include re-creating the past. Yet humans prove themselves unable to move beyond the past as pointed out by Nick using metaphors of a boat and a current, “the current draws them backward as they row forward toward the green light”. While they never lose their optimism “tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther ” they expend all of their energy In pursuit of a goal that moves ever farther away.
This metaphor characterizes both Gatsby struggle and the American dream itself. This quote is neither the approval nor the disappointment of life. Fitzgerald throughout the book stresses the need for hope and dreams to give meaning and purpose to man’s efforts. Striving towards some ideal is the way by which man can feel a sense of purpose, and a sense of his own identity. Fitzgerald also contradictorily goes on to state through the book that the failure of hopes and dreams, is unavoidable, if the ideals are too fantastic to be realized such as in the ease of Gatsby.
The heroic presentation of Gatsby, therefore, should not be considered as a role model, for we cannot overlook the fact that Gatsby is naive, impractical and overstatement’s. It is this, which makes him attempt the impossible, to repeat the past. There still remains a undeniable feeling of fitfulness, absurdness, yet admirableness about the way he refuses to grow up. Nevertheless hope remains to be the overwhelming theme, in my opinion, for the novel The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.