INEVITABILITY OF TIME
The idea of the inevitability of time is portrayed throughout the novel as it effects all of the characters in their own way. As the novel goes on, the characters are slowly revealed and their true characters come out. We see this change as they evolve into someone who may be completely different to how they were initially described to be. Time plays a big part in the way we see Gatsby and how his childhood played out was a big factor in his personality that we see. Time is a constant thing and over time things change but for Gatsby and his love for Daisy, he has this idea in his mind that he can reverse time to five years ago when Gatsby and Daisy first met, to how they used to be, to how Gatsby wants them to be. This goal of turning back time is unobtainable as the five years that he was apart from Daisy, her life progressed where memories were made and new lives were created. For Gatsby it was so easy and simple to comprehend as his whole life revolved around getting back with Daisy but for her it wasn’t so easy as the five years distance was a barrier blocking Gatsby from getting to Daisy. It was if that five years had never passed and Gatsby expected to take off where they left off. Gatsby stated that after she was free they were to go back to Louisville and be married from her house- just as if it were five years ago. Gatsby doesn’t quite understand that he can’t go back in time and repeat what has already happened which is clearly showed by a conversation had by Nick and Gatsby. “I wouldn’t ask too much of her,” I ventured. “You can’t repeat the past” “Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!”. Gatsby and Daisy’s relationship only existed and was built in the past and time has made it impossible for them to stay together as it continually drew them apart.
Time is just as hard for Daisy as it is for Gatsby as during those five years she got married, had a child, made new friends and her life kept on moving. it is impossible for her to completely forget about her life with Tom because five years is a significant amount of time that can’t just be erased in the blink of an eye.
Water is another way the idea of the inevitability of time is conveyed throughout the novel as the bay of water separates Gatsby from Daisy and that bay is a physical representation of the time barrier that is keeping them apart. This barrier can not be erased just like time can not be erased as time never stops but keeps going forward.
THE MYTH OF THE AMERICAN DREAM
the term “American Dream” is a term first used by an American historian called James Truslow Adams who used the term to describe the hope that in America anyone can become rich and famous, that everyone is equal and free, that their are no social classes and no matter where they come from or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success if they work hard enough for it.
In the Great Gatsby, the American Dream is presented as the idea that people are always reaching out to something that is greater than themselves, that is just out of reach. At first glimpse of Gatsby the idea of the American dream is portrayed well through a quote by Nick. “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.” In the Great Gatsby it is clear to see that the idea of the American dream is in fact just a dream and not a reality as there are social classes and discriminations resulting in the rich and the poor. Gatsby came from a family with little money but he had ambitions and great desire to be successful. He had learned the manners and knowledge of the upper class thanks to Dan Cody but had no money to back this up. He was determined to become part of the upperclass and made his way to the riches through illegal jobs. Although he is rich, the people of West Egg do not accept him as one of them as his way to money seemed dodgy and illegitimate. To Gatsby, the ultimate success and status symbol is Daisy, and she is what he needs to attain his own level of success. George and Myrtle Wilson are both working class people who work hard in hope for success. They both strive for the upper class lifestyle, George through his hours upon hours of hardworking in the garage and Myrtle through her affair with Tom Buchanan. Though they both do things in hope of achieving the American Dream, but in reality no matter what they do they will always be stuck living in the valley of ashes; the lower class. Everyone is striving for their own success, to achieve the lifestyle they desire but in reality their dream of success is just out of reach and continues to be out of reach.