English 11 AP
July 17, 2012
Nick Carraway concludes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby” with these words: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”. This presents the careless pursuit of the American dream which characterized the people of the 1920’s.
Jay Gatsby is a “new rich” man living in Long Islands west egg who spent much of his early life in a poor household in Minnesota. In 1917 he fell in love with a beautiful rich girl named Daisy who married Tom Buchanan while Gatsby was away at war. The rest of Gatsby’s life was nothing but a string of attempts to win Daisy back. The “green light” marks the end of the Buchanan’s dock and is barely visible from Gatsby’s home. It represents the guiding light which Gatsby hopes will lead him back to daisy. In this respect it represents how humans apply the significance of the past to their dreams of the future. Gatsby seeks only to re-create the events of 1917 in his affair with daisy but this goal just keeps moving further and further away. The quote says that they will run faster and stretch their arms farther, meaning that they will work ever harder to reach their impossible goals.
This quote also embodies the corruption of the American dream seen in the upper class citizens of the 1920’s. Although the 20’s was a time of great prosperity, it was also full of greed and corruption. A rise in organized crime allowed people, like Gatsby, to make millions off of illegal activities like bootlegging. The American dream which began as nothing more than the pursuit of happiness was changed into a pursuit of money, power and social status. Even the newly rich people such as Gatsby couldn’t make their way into the social circles...