“The American dream” is an expression that signifies the desire of the individual for success, material prosperity, and achievements of a different kind, implying ascent from social bottoms, poverty – to recognition, wealth and glory. It can also denote the desire for prosperity and confidence in the future, expressed in the ability to buy their own home, get a good job, take a high position in society. Also, it can express the opportunity to become fantastically rich. Aforementioned defines the American dream of the public consciousness of the US residents, and so it is written in the dictionary. But, getting into the literary work, the concept is subject to writer’s comprehension, passes through the prism of his or her perception. In the novel “Great Gatsby” by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, we find an interesting and ambiguous interpretation of this concept. The roots of the main conflict go to the sources of all American social background, sanctified by the unattainable dream of an” earthly sanctuary for a single person, a complete equality of opportunity and unlimited space for the individual. People go to the “American Dream,” which took hold of the hero of the novel by Jay Gatsby. “
“The American Dream” is a dream of an earthly sanctuary for a “single person”: in America, in this country of universal equality, the ordinary man is blocked on his way to the highest steps of the social ladder. The rules that Jay Gatsby established for himself from his youth are in his way a complete code of conduct for every believer in a “Dream,” and Gatsby is determined to try diligently, thrift, and work hard to make his way in life, to prove by his own example that the odds are equal for all and only the qualities of the person are mattering. “The Great Gatsby” is an example of a “double vision”, which the author himself defined as the ability to simultaneously keep in mind two directly opposite ideas, entering one into another into conflictual relations, thereby creating a dramatic plot movement and character development. The duality of the main character gives the novel a tragic flavor. The narrative is saturated with metaphors, contrasting this double perspective with the events taking place in it: a carnival in the Gatsby estate – a garbage dump adjoining his house, a “green light” of happiness – dead eyes looking from a giant billboard, etc. The fragile poetry of the “Jazz Age” and its opposites: rampant grasping instincts.
Pathos of the Novel
The ideological and moral pathos of the novel lies in the fact that in the interpretation of the “dream” the author proceeded from the notion of historical regularity. By this, the figure of the protagonist is also represented as if in two dimensions: Gatsby is a romantic, a dreamer who worships beauty and goodness, and at the same time he is the bearer of the ideals of the society of “consumption” in all their ostentatious grandeur and splendor. Hence the two modes in the depiction of the hero – a romantic image (the hero who lives a dream about a meeting with Daisy) and purely prosaic, business character (Gatsby’s activity as bootlegger). Indeed, very little is said about the second side of the hero’s life, since it was more important for Fitzgerald to reveal the tragedy of the romantic aspirations of a young man who is trying to find in the past ideals and dreams that in actual fact prove to be long lost both socially and morally.
Obscurity, vagueness lies in the very nature of Gatsby. He is “vague” in fact because he has a conflict of two incompatible aspirations, two different inceptions. One of these beliefs is naivety, the simplicity of the heart, the unflagging reflection of the “green light,” the star of “the incredible future happiness” in which Gatsby believes with all his heart. The other is the sober mind accustomed to the insecure but lucrative game of the bootlegger, who, on the happiest day for himself, when Daisy crosses the threshold of his house, gives directions to the branches of his “firm” by phone. On one side, this is the illustration of dreaminess, on the other – practicality and financial promiscuity, without which there would be no mansion or millions. Greatheartedness and elastic conscience, passing one into another. Fitzgerald is attracted by energy, strength and disturbed by an empty waste of energy.