Pursuit of the American Dream
Can peace be defined both internal and externally? Peace is defined as a method to articulate group conflicts, especially collective violence and creates a common sense of tranquility. In The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald, Nick Carraway claims that everything with Gatsby will turn up all right in the end. At the beginning of the book, Nick Carraway claims, “No-Gatsby turned out alright in the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men” (Fitzgerald, 2). Gatsby turned out alright in the end due to his reputation and pursuit of the American Dream.
Gatsby portrayed the American Dream in many different ways. He faced betrayal by a woman he once loved, framed for a murder he did not commit, and was eventually murdered. Because of these accusations and unbearable situations, Gatsby once gave up. He felt useless, but there is something that makes him get right back up on his feet again, the symbolic green light. Nick states, “But I didn’t call to him for he gave a sudden intimation that he was content to be alone” he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward” and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock” (Fitzgerald, 20). When the reader first meets Jay Gatsby, they see him reaching something, but it is often overlooked and not seen, something definitely in sight, and not within one’s personal reach. The image of the green light is part of Gatsby’s personal interpretation on the American Dream. This desired image is our introduction to Gatsby which foreshadows and resembles his tragic and unbearable end and also portrays him to be someone who has a purpose in life, rather than people like Tom or Daisy who were born with money and do not need to strive for anything to be successful.
Gatsby, as mentioned previously, had many doubts and challenges along the way of pursuing his version of the American Dream. Not only was he discouraged, but he bagan to view the world in a pessimistic manner leading him to no longer believe in himself. Nick goes on to state, “..As the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes” a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and 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, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night” (Fitzgerald, 179-180). This reflects at length on the American Dream, in an attitude that seems negative and against all odds. It also reflects back to our first interactions and perception of Gatsby, “reaching out over the water towards the Buchanan’s green light.” Nick clearly states that Gatsby’s dream was “already behind him”. After his pessimistic attitude, he regains his strength and Nick states, “Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead….After that my own rule is to let everything alone” (Fitzgerald, 172) after Gatsby’s death. He then continues to find things to cherish in how Gatsby still hoped for a better life, and constantly believed in his ability to a brighter future.
Gatsby has faced many internal and external struggles and never let anything get in the way of his version of the American Dream. He lost everything. His life was a lie. He had not inherited the money, but got some from Wolfsheim. He lost a woman, he loved all his life, framed for a murder he did not commit and was murdered in the end, and even his ex-lover knew about the murder prior. He was killed in a pool of water and was incarnated and born anew. The incarnation represents his perseverance even though he did not get everything he wanted and failed many times along the way, he never gave up and this is how Nick portrays this. Peace can in fact be internal, as Nick portrays Gatsby in a way that comes from the heart.