The disillusionment of American dream in the Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night Chapter I Introduction F. Scott Fitzgerald is the spokesman of the Jazz Age and is also one of the greatest novelists in the 20th century. His novels mainly deal with the theme of the disillusionment of the American dream of the self-made young men in the 20th century. In this thesis, Fitzgerald’s two most important novels The Great Gatsby(2003) and Tender is the Night(2005) are analyzed.
Both these two novels tell us the story of the pursuit and failure of the American dream of the young men in the twenties. Jay Gatsby is the central character of The Great Gatsby and Dick Diver is the counterpart of Tender Is the Night and both these two men fall in love with the beautiful and wealthy girls of the upper class and they want to get these girls to enter into the upper class by their efforts. Although they devote their whole life to win the wealth and position, both of them fail totally at last. Why do they fail?
In the thesis the reasons for their failure would be discussed. Their great dream is swallowed up by the hypocrisy and meanness of the upper class, which is the superficial reason for their failure. And the deep reason is that the age of the success of the American dream has past, and the people in the twenties didn’t believe in the values of traditional morality any longer and they had their philosophy of life—that was to ‘seize every day’ and ‘enjoy every moment’, so no matter how many efforts they devoted, they were doomed to fail at last.
Fitzgerald lived in his great moments and was aware of the transformations of traditional morality under the splendor and prosperity of the Jazz Age, and as a serious writer, he tried to reveal his true understanding through his novels, so the American dream of his central characters was doomed to failure in the end. In the novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald has composed for Gatsby a peculiar tragedy of the American dream.
Sponsored as a boy by a type of 19th-century pioneer, appropriately named Dan Cody, Gatsby has worked his way up to becoming a kind of 20th-century version of his benefactor (his great wealth is probably the wages of bootlegging). He directs his whole life toward winning back his first love Daisy Fay, a rich and beautiful girl who becomes the symbol of the wealth and position and the incarnation of its mysterious power. Fitzgerald has made the imperfect Gatsby the carrier of that pristine dream of excellence and perfectibility. Gatsby’s dream is flawed in its corrupt modes and its 1 nadequate embodiment, and his good wish is swallowed up by the hypocrisy, selfishness and meanness of the upper class. Tom Buchanan’s part goes to establish that “the very rich are different from you and me”—as Fitzgerald had said in an earlier story. 1 Nick Carraway, the witness and commentator of the American dream, plays a special role in the novel. His personality in itself provides an essential comment on all the other characters. Nick stands for the older values that prevailed in the Middle West before the First World War and he is so certain of his own values that he hesitates to criticize others.
Nick, having learned just how much brutal stupidity and carelessness exists beneath the charm and even the pathos of Tom and Daisy, goes back to the West. “The Great Gatsby becomes a kind of tragic pastoral, with the East exemplifying urban sophistication and culture and corruption, and the Middle West, ‘the bored, sprawling, swollen towns beyond the Ohio,’ the simple virtues. ”2 Dick Diver, the central character of Tender Is the Night, is the son of a Protestant minister and the great-grandson of the governor of North Carolina.
From his father, Dick learned his idealism—a code of morality and a set of manners Fitzgerald always connected with the pre-Civil War South: “nothing could be superior to ‘good instincts’, honor, courtesy, and courage. ”(Night, p237) These were the older American values of Dick’s childhood that have made him “a natural idealist” and “a spoiled priest”3. Dick’s wife, Nicole Warren is the spirit of an even greater fortune. She is the daughter of a millionaire, but unfortunately she is the victim of the incest and has a serious mental disease.
As a doctor, Dick is sympathetic with her and wants to cure her to realize his American dream—that’s to get the admission and acceptance of the upper class, so he marries her and devotes more than his decade of life to curing her. But Nicole leaves him after her recovery and turns to her new lover, Tommy Barban. Dick goes back to his hometown quietly. “Dick’s weaknesses and his identity as a ‘spoiled priest’ are rooted in his personality—his egotism and desire to please and be loved that transform him into a social climber whose natural idealism is finally corrupted by the amoral values of his flock. (Stavola 1979:148) We are not allowed to forget that both Jay Gatsby and Dick Diver are the representative figures of the American dream of the 20th century. Both these two men come from a family with little or no money, but they manage to attend a famous university—Oxford to raise their social positions. When the rising young men are halfway 2 to the top, they fall in love with the rich and beautiful girls from the upper class, and they win the rich girls but at last are destroyed by their wealth or their relatives. Their real dream was that of achieving a new status and a new essence, of rising to a loftier place in the mysterious hierarchy of human worth. ” 4 To understand the pursuers of the American dream of the two novels, Gatsby and Dick, we must have a thorough knowledge of the major facts of Fitzgerald’s personal experience, because he always “wrote about himself or about people and things with which he was intimate. ”(Stavola 1979:23) When Fitzgerald said, “I can not disassociate a man from his work” (Stavola 1979:23), he obviously had himself in mind.
In the study of any writer there are three concentric areas of evaluation: the man, his writings, and his society. With Fitzgerald at the center of these areas are four major figures: Mollie McQuillan, his mother; Edward Fitzgerald, his father; Father Sigourney Webster Fay, his headmaster; and Zelda Sayre, his wife. (Stavola 1979:23) Fitzgerald’s mother, Mollie McQuillan, had a great influence on him from his birth. She was an extremely romantic but unattractive woman, so she often found that reality fell far short of her dreams. She spoiled Fitzgerald in every way possible, and encouraged his tendency to show off in public.
Nothing pleased her better than to have her son perform for the neighbors in the front parlor. Such a relationship with his mother weakened little Fitzgerald because he interpreted his mother’s emotional largesse as a sign of his own personal inadequacy and fragility. Fitzgerald as an infant was not allowed to develop a fundamental sense of his own trustworthiness. (Stavola 1979:25) Fitzgerald’s father, Edward Fitzgerald, was quite good-looking, dressed well, and possessed “breeding” as well as a Southern sense of graciousness, but he lacked vitality and aggressiveness.
Mollie acted out her spiteful distaste for her passive husband through a constant stream of humiliating words and acts. From his childhood, Fitzgerald believed that to be male was necessarily to be like his father, inferior and powerless before a dominating woman. As a child Fitzgerald tried to escape from the morose world of his parents into the more exciting one of the imagination. He believed that the latter was far better morally and aesthetically, a friendly place where he could realize his own romantic dreams. He kept this belief in mind until 1922.
While he planned his third novel, The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald began to seriously question the true value of his accomplishment: money, 3 fame, and marriage to a beautiful woman. (Stavola 1979:27) As he matured, Fitzgerald’s judgment of his father changed. At last, his father’s image became “a kind of moral touchstone”(Stavola 1979:29). But he could never completely understand or forgive his mother. Only after her death could Fitzgerald in some way resolve his painfully hostile relationship with her mother. At that time he realized that she, more than his father, was the source of his vitality and creativity.
Fitzgerald, as a child, was already living “with a great dream” he was determined to realize. Because of the consistent failures and frustrations, Edward Fitzgerald drank heavily. His failures sharpened Fitzgerald’s determination to be a success. A vital factor in the reshaping of Fitzgerald’s identifications with the old generation appeared when he was a student at Newman. There he met Father Sigourney Webster Fay, a trustee of the school who would soon become the headmaster. Fay satisfied Fitzgerald’s need for a strong and romantic father figure.
He was a major part of that time in Fitzgerald’s life when an adolescent searched for men and ideas to believe in. Fitzgerald’s relationship with Fay helped to change his view of himself, the world, and his father. This elegant clergyman became a healthy ideal Fitzgerald incorporated into his own personal life. He drew upon his memories of Fay while composing the idealized portraits of Nick Carraway’s father in The Great Gatsby and Dick Diver’s minister father in Tender Is the Night. Fitzgerald’s constant theme of love is also closely associated with his personal life.
Adolescence, for Fitzgerald, was primarily a social event. When Fitzgerald was a socially successful student at Princeton, he met Ginevra King, the first woman whom he fell in love with and the stories he wrote at Princeton were mostly about her. His longing for Ginevra partially motivated his dogged pursuit of Zelda Sayre and served as the model for his portrait of Gatsby’s timeless love for Daisy Fay. When Fitzgerald received the news that Ginevra King was to be married, he felt hopeless. A few weeks later he met Zelda Sayre, the second and also the most important woman in his life.
Zelda was a popular girl of eighteen and possessed “marvelous golden hair and that air of innocent assurance attractive Southern girls have. ”(Stavola 1979:47) Fitzgerald, like many others, was easily seduced by Zelda’s fa? ade. He was drawn to Zelda’s social world where she seemed to control by her dominating vitality the admiration 4 and acclaim of so many young men. To enter such a competitive sphere and ultimately possess Zelda as his wife Fitzgerald believed would certainly enrich his fragile self-confidence. Zelda realized that Fitzgerald was different from her previous beaux.
He possessed intelligence, discipline, wit, social standing. Both Fitzgerald and Zelda shared the same dream of an exciting, adventurous life in New York. Fitzgerald assumed that Zelda’s life, her manner of thinking, experiences, words, letters and diaries, and finally, her “illness”, were his exclusive literary property. Zelda became both Fitzgerald’s wife and favorite character, the “raw material” for a succession of fictional heroines—Rosalind, Gloria, Daisy and Nicole. We could see F. Scott Fitzgerald like so many modern American writers created a public image of himself as a representative figure of his times.
For him the writing became a source of psychological and artistic release, and at the same time he was evaluating those archetypal American experiences in his own life. He was speaking through Jay Gatsby, Dick Diver or other fictional creations. Both Jay Gatsby and Dick Diver are the representative figures of the self-made men of the Jazz Age that Fitzgerald lived in. In popular mythology, the self-made man has been one of the most admired heroes in America, and the rags-to-riches story one of the favorite fairy tales.
During the late-nineteenth century and the 1920s, the nation’s great economic potential seemed to provide some factual basis for the widespread belief that the American dream would be fulfilled for those who pursued it with sufficient vitality and devotion. However, through the stories of Jay Gatsby and Dick Diver, the rise of the self-made man has been the exception rather than the rule. To understand the failure of the American dream of these two young men in the twenties, we should have a thorough knowledge of the age that Fitzgerald lived in.
In the 1920s, as Fitzgerald said, “America was going on the grandest, gaudiest spree in history and there was going to be plenty to tell about it. ”(Cowley 1973:25) There is still plenty to tell about it, in the light of a new age that continues to be curious about the 1920s. The gaudiest spree in history was a moral revolt, and beneath the revolt were social transformations. The 1920s were the age when Puritanism was under attack, with the Protestant churches losing their dominant position.
More essentially, the 1920s were the age when a production ethic—of saving and self-denial in order to accumulate capital for 5 new enterprises—gave way to a consumption ethic that was needed to provide markets for the new commodities that streamed from the production lines. Instead of being exhorted to save money, more and more of it, people were being exhorted in a thousand ways to buy, enjoy, use once and throw away, in order to buy a later and more expensive model. Young men and women of Fitzgerald’s time were the group feeling the changes as soon as possible.
They took adventures that didn’t impress them as being risks because, in their hearts, they believed in the happy ending of any adventure. They were truly rebellious because they celebrated the value of simple experiences such as love, foreign travel, good food, and drunkenness. The masculine ideal of the 1920s was what Fitzgerald called “the old dream of being an entire man in the Goethe-Byron-Shaw tradition”(Cowley 1973:28). The entire man would be one who “did everything”, good and bad, who realized all the potentialities of his nature and thereby acquired wisdom.
To be admired by the 1920s young men had to will all sorts of actions and had to possess enough energy and boldness to carry out even momentary wishes. The change went deep into the texture of American society and deep into the feelings of Americans as individuals. Fitzgerald lived in his great moments, and he not only represented the age but also came to suspect that he had helped to create it. He had a great interest in earning money, lots of it fast, and then he and Zelda liked to spend lots of it fast.
In his attitude toward money he revealed the new spirit of an age when conspicuous accumulation was giving way to conspicuous earning and spending. As a writer, Fitzgerald is its most faithful recorder, not only in the stories that earned him a place in the new high-income class, but also in his personal confessions. He liked to describe his vitality and his talent in pecuniary terms. In Fitzgerald’s stories there usually was a struggle between wealth as fluid income and wealth as an inherited and solid possession—or rather it was between a man and a woman as representatives of the new and the old moneyed classes.
A poor but ambitious boy is attracted to a Golden Girl, and his efforts to improve his economic and social status are inseparably interwoven with his romantic quest of the girl. As a serious writer, Fitzgerald wrote, “How anyone could take up the responsibility of being a novelist without a sharp and concise attitude about life is a puzzle to me. ”(Piper 1970:108) Fitzgerald was fascinated with wealth and success, and the theme of realizing a dream was found in his novels. But at the same time, Fitzgerald was acutely aware of the 6 ernicious and illusory aspect of the dream, and he exposed these qualities more effectively. He portrayed the characters who realize their dreams of material success, but find them empty, corrupt, or otherwise unsatisfying. In a world too frustrating for the characters to face squarely and cope with successfully, dreams became an end in themselves. He treated the failure of dream in his fiction to criticize the transformations of the society of the Jazz Age for its philistinism, its narrowness, its encouragement of a thoughtless and mechanical pursuit of shallow material goals.
In this thesis, the relationship between love and the American dream of the representative figures of the self-made men of the twenties Jay Gatsby and Dick Diver would be analyzed and the reasons for the disillusionment of their dream couldn’t be separated with the transformations of the values of traditional morality of the time that they live in. An analysis of the myth of the American dream as it existed during the twenties should provide us with important insights into what happened to the people’s values of that time in American history. 1
NOTES PhilipYoung, American Fiction, American Myth: Essays by Philip Young (Pennsyvania: The Pennsyvania State University Press,2000)222. Charles Scribner’s Sons,1970)131. Limited,1979)148. Press,1973)34. 2 Henry Dan Piper, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: The Novel, The Critics, The Background (New York: 3 Thomas J. Stavola, Scott Fitzgerald: Crisis in an American Identity (London: Vision Press 4 Malcolm Cowley, A Second Flowering: works and days of the lost generation (New York: The Viking 7 Chapter II The Disillusionment of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is Fitzgerald’s most famous novel and is also one of the greatest American novels. Soon after it was published, T. S. Eliot called it “the first step the American novel has taken since Henry James. ”1The novel mainly presents the disillusionment of the American dream through a young man called Jay Gatsby in the twenties. Fitzgerald’s sensibility constantly responded to the world about him. He wrote to one of his friends frankly, “Books are like brothers, I am an only child. Gatsby my imaginary eldest brother…”.
Since Gatsby is Fitzgerald’s imaginary eldest brother, he must have some similarities with Fitzgerald in real life. After reading Chapter I, we have known with Fitzgerald’s growth, there are four major figures in his life: Mollie McQuillan, his mother; Edward Fitzgerald, his father; Father Sigourney Webster Fay, his headmaster; and Zelda Sayre, his wife. Since the relationship between his parents was strained, Fitzgerald tried to escape from the morose world of his parents into the more exciting one of the imagination. Father Fay was a major part in Fitzgerald’s teens when an adolescent ardently searched for men and ideas to believe in.
Zelda, Fitzgerald’s wife and favorite character, was the “raw material” for a succession of fictional heroines. We know that with Gatsby’s growth, because his parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people, they had little influence on him, and his imagination never really accepted them as his parents at all. In his youth there were two major figures in his life: Dan Cody, who made his millions in the Nevada silver, was a live soul of the American dream in Gatsby’s world; Daisy Fay, like Zelda Sayre, was also born into the upper class and was the embodiment of the American dream of Gatsby.
A place where Gatsby was eager to have money, fame, and marriage to a beautiful woman was just the world Fitzgerald dreamed of in his life. In this chapter, the formation of Gatsby’s American dream and the relationship between his love and dream would be discussed, and according to Fitzgerald’s personal experience and the age he lived in, the reasons of the failure of the American dream in The Great Gatsby would be revealed. 8 In 2. 1 the central character Jay Gatsby and other major characters: Dan Cody, Daisy Fay, Tom Buchanan and Nick Carraway and their important functions in the American dream of Gatsby would be discussed.
As a representative figure of the self-made man of the twenties, Gatsby has many traditional virtues in his quality: honesty, sincerity, diligence and discipline. He gets great wealth by efforts and then he wants to win back his first love Daisy Fay, the embodiment of the wealth and position of the upper class, but he fails totally and even loses his life at last. Nick Carraway, a witness and commentator of the American dream of Gatsby, roots in the traditional morality of west.
After seeing the disillusionment of Gatsby’s dream in east, he decides to go back to west. What are the reasons of the failure of the American dream of Gatsby? In 2. 2 the reasons to the disillusionment of Gatsby’s dream would be analyzed in detail. On the surface, the representative figures of the upper class Tom Buchanan and Daisy Fay are the direct destroyers of his American dream; but beyond the surface concerns, the more important reason is that the time for dreaming that Gatsby dreamed of had past.
The transformations of traditional morality of the people in the twenties make them not believe in any hero longer, but only pursue individual pleasure, so Gatsby full of much imagination to the dream becomes the most vulnerable figure in that age. The disillusionment of Gatsby’s dream is the failure of the creative spirits of human in the twenties, so The Great Gatsby could be regarded as the record of the sad chapter of the Jazz Age in American history. 2. 1 Jay Gatsby’s Love and the American Dream Jay Gatsby is the central character of the novel The Great Gatsby.
He is not only a representative of the Roaring Twenties in which he lives, but he comes inevitably to stand for America itself. Fitzgerald was certainly aware of the American tradition as it had being developed by his contemporaries in the twenties, so there was one significant connection between Gatsby and the American past. It is a commonplace of American colonial history that most immigrants came to the New World in the hope of improving their economic status.
Here achievement was more important than titles of nobility and there was always the possibility that nobody could 9 become a man of consequence if he worked hard. Men were only esteemed according to what they were worth—that was, the money they were possessed of. The best-known colonial self-made man was Benjamin Franklin, a poor son of a humble Puritan candlemaker, who by industry, thrift and frugality had become learned and wise, and elevated to wealth and fame.
Many poor boys were actually inspired to great deeds by the example of Franklin. “Mr. Holmes has described Gatsby as ‘devoted …to the success maxims of the Ben Franklin tradition. ’”2 Many of the “GENERAL RESOLVES” listed at the bottom of Gatsby’s schedule could be traced to Franklin’s list of thirteen virtues in Poor Richard’s Almanac which often stressed the essential importance of self-improvement and hard work if one was to succeed in America.
GENERAL RESOLVES No wasting time at Shafters or [ a name, indecipherable] No more smoking or chewing Bath every other day Read one improving book or magazine per week Save $5. 00 [crossed out] $3. 00 per week Be better to parents (Gatsby, p231-232) Gatsby’s list of self-improving resolves was closely modeled on Benjamin Franklin’s eighteenth-century rules for self-improvement. Franklin’s industry became “No wasting time at Shafters”; Cleanliness became “Bath every other day”; Frugality was “Save $5. 0 [crossed out] $3. 00 per week”; Temperance was “No more smoking or chewing”; “Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty” possibly became for Gatsby more specific and less inclusive “Be better to parents”. Perhaps a source for Gatsby’s “Read one improving book or magazine per week” could be found in Franklin’s scheduled notation to “Read” during his noon hour. Piper 1970:203) In the novel the central character Jay Gatsby is portrayed as the pursuer and failure of the American dream in the twenties, and every main character of the novel has a special relationship with him: Dan Cody is his first educator, who inspires his pursuit to the American dream in his teens; Daisy Fay, his first love, is the symbol of the wealth and position and is also the concrete embodiment of his American dream; Tom Buchanan, Daisy’s husband, is the direct destroyer of his dream, and Nick Carraway is the witness and 10 commentator of the disillusionment of the American dream of Gatsby. So all he characters have important functions in Gatsby’s dream in the novel. We know that Gatsby’s parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people and his imagination never really accepted them as his parents at all. When Gatsby was still a young boy, eighteen years old without any aim in life, and when he was still searching for something to do on the day, he met Dan Cody and then his fate began to change from that moment. Dan Cody, who sounded like an amalgam of the frontier heroes Daniel Boone and Buffalo Bill Cody3, made his millions in the Nevada silver mines and became a playboy by cruising the world in his yacht.
At that time he was seventy-five years old and had no offspring, so Gatsby was employed in a vague personal capacity for him and later inherited a legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars from him. Dan Cody was Gatsby’s first educator and Gatsby also admired him as his father. When Nick Carraway went to Gatsby’s house the first time, he saw the large photograph of Dan Cody on the wall over the desk. I began to walk about the room, examining various indefinite objects in the half darkness. A large photograph of an elderly man in yachting costume attracted me, hung on the wall over his desk. “Who’s this? “That? that’s Mr. Dan Cody, old sport. ” The name sounded faintly familiar. “He’s dead now. He used to be my best friend years ago. ” There was a small picture of Gatsby, also in yachting costume, on the bureau—Gatsby with his head thrown back defiantly—taken apparently when he was about eighteen. ” (Gatsby, p125) Dan Cody was a live Franklin in the nineteenth century in the young Gatsby’s eyes. Dan Cody was a success of the American dream, and he was also a live soul of the American dream in Gatsby’s world. Being Gatsby’s first educator, he seeded the American dream in the young Gatsby’s heart.
Gatsby admired Dan Cody as his father, and although Dan Cody was dead, his soul has been always encouraging Gatsby to do his best to realize the American dream. Gatsby learned the soul from Dan Cody, so in some respects, Gatsby could be regarded as the successor to Dan Cody in the twenties. “He was left with his singularly appropriate education; the vague contour of Jay Gatsby had filled out to the substantiality of a man. ” (Gatsby, p135) Jay Gatsby was a representative figure of the self-made man in the twenties, so he had 11 some traditional virtues in his quality: sincerity, generosity, diligence and discipline.
He made money by efforts, but unquestionably he was corrupt because his wealth was derived from such shady operations as bootlegging. One of his associated ‘fixed’ the World’s Series in 1919. He helped to organize the sale of fraudulent securities, and it seemed that he was involved in one of the biggest scandals of the 1920s, the Teapot Dome affair, in which enormous profits were made by the secret and illegal sale of oil-rich public land to private operators. But in the society of cruel, aimless, cynical and superficial people, such corruption seemed relatively insignificant.
Jay Gatsby was really great. He believed in manifest destiny, in the will to succeed, in money, but all failed him. To regain his first love Daisy Fay was his dream. Daisy was the symbol of the wealth and position of the upper class and was also the concrete embodiment of the American dream of Gatsby in the novel. She played the special role of Gatsby’s dream mainly because of her birth of the upper class, so she was with mysterious brightness to the poor Gatsby from her birth and Gatsby deeply felt the extraordinary points of Daisy Fay.
She had caught a cold, and it made her voice huskier and more charming than ever, and Gatsby was overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes, and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor. (Gatsby, p200) In Gatsby’s eyes, everything concerning Daisy Fay was mysterious and extraordinary and couldn’t easily to reach for the poor people. When Gatsby went to Daisy’s house with other officials the first time, he felt that her house was different from other girls’ and he was amazed at its splendor and wealth and admired Daisy more.
He went to her house, at first with other officers from Camp Taylor, then alone. It amazed him—he had never been in such a beautiful intensity was that Daisy lived there—it was as casual a thing to her as his tent out at camp was to him. There was a ripe mystery about it, a hint of bedrooms upstairs more beautiful and cool than other bedrooms, of gay and radiant activities taking place through its corridors, and of romances that were not musty and laid away already in lavender, but fresh and breathing and redolent of this year’s shining motor-cars and of danced whose flowers were scarcely withered. Gatsby, p198) Many men loved Daisy, which made her more extraordinary than other girls and 12 increased her value in Gatsby’s eyes. “…all day long the telephone rang in her house and excited young officers from Camp Taylor demanded the privilege of monopolizing her that night. ‘Anyways, for an hour! ’”(Gatsby, p100) Gatsby was helplessly drawn to Daisy’s magical social world where she seemed to control so effortlessly by her dominating vitality the admiration and acclaim of so many young men. So Daisy was an extraordinary girl because she could get so much love from so many young men by her controlling power.
The man who was chosen by her and married her had to be the most excellent one of all the young men. To enter such a competitive sphere and ultimately possess Daisy as his wife Gatsby believed would certainly prove his wealth and raise his social position before the people of his age. To Gatsby marrying Daisy meant entering the upper class, so he devoted his whole life to win her back. “Their real dream was that of achieving a new status and a new essence, of rising to a loftier place in the mysterious hierarchy of human worth. ”4 Daisy had some extraordinary qualities in herself.
Her voice was one of them because it could be changed on various notes in different situations to arrest men’s attention, and there were many detailed descriptions of her voice in the novel. But there was always a nature in her voice, and then Gatsby spoke it out to Nick when he first went into the Buchanans’ house. “She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked. “It’s full of–”I hesitated. “Her voice is full of money,” he said suddenly. That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm hat rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it… High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl…(Gatsby, p160) Since Gatsby and Daisy has departed for five years, Daisy was always living in Gatsby’s memory and she turned into an extraordinary fairy with a magical veil of wealth and position as time past by. To marry Daisy meant determining his definite identity in the upper class, which was Daisy’s social value and charming power, so Gatsby devoted his whole life toward winning her back. Daisy became the noble embodiment of the upper class in Gatsby’s dream.
Gatsby simply thought the reason why he lost Daisy was that he was poor and had a low social position when he was young, and he totally believed that his wealth could win her back to him and then make him enter the upper class naturally, so he 13 earned large wealth by efforts and then bought a splendid house across the bay of Daisy’s and gave parties day and night on every weekend to arrest her coming. There was always a green light that burnt all night at the end of Daisy’s dock and Gatsby could see Daisy’s house across the bay if it wasn’t for the mist.
The first time when Nick saw Gatsby who was watching this green light and was absorbed in his thoughts totally, Nick had intended to say hello to Gatsby and then changed his mind not to call Gatsby. I decided to call to him. … 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 faraway, that might have been the end of a dock.
When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unquiet darkness. (Gatsby, p29) As time passed by, the green light was not a common light any longer in Gatsby’s world, and it turned into a magical light full of symbolism. In Gatsby’s heart, the green light magically turned into Daisy herself and led Gatsby to walking into Daisy’s world again. Compared to the great distance that separated Gatsby with Daisy, the green light seemed very near to her, almost touching her, which was its special charm to Gatsby.
It burnt all night at the end of Daisy’s dock, so it was a light that would never die out and gave the permanent hope to Gatsby. The green light was a magical light, because it did not only lead to Gatsby’s future, but it also represented the happy past that could never come again to Gatsby. Every time when Gatsby saw the green light, he was absorbed completely in his memory of the happy past he and Daisy spent. Five years ago Daisy and he spent much good time and it was too difficult for him to forget the past happiness with her. Gatsby never made the leap from his self into actual world. Milton R. Stern puts the matter this way: Gatsby ‘sums up our American desire to believe in a release from history. ’ That has become part of our ‘romantic sense of self. ’”5 Five years later when Gatsby saw Daisy again, he felt that she was different from the Daisy he dreamed of day and night. Before him Daisy had already lost her magical luster and became a common girl. Later Gatsby invited Daisy to take part in his party, and after 14 she left, Gatsby felt very disappointed and even depressed because he thought that Daisy couldn’t really understand him any longer.
He said to Nick sadly, “And she doesn’t understand,” “She used to be able to understand. We’d sit for hours–”(Gatsby, p147) Gatsby was great but at the same time he was also pitiful because he could not recognize Daisy Fay clearly and his blindness led to his death in the end. “He knew that Daisy was extraordinary, but he didn’t realize just how extraordinary a ‘nice’ girl could be. ”(Gatsby, p199) In Gatsby’s eyes Daisy was a noble fairy, but she was a superficial and vulgar woman in reality. “She is as insubstantial as the ballooning white dresses, as shallow as her white powder. (Massa 1982:150)Daisy only responded to surface. She couldn’t really understand Gatsby because she didn’t know true love. “Her lack of depth and passion leads her to flinch from the real emotion and the profound inner vitality which Gatsby’s life-style struggles to express. ”(Massa 1982:151) She was born into the upper class and grew up in wealthy conditions, so she was dependent on wealth from her birth and she only loved wealth itself. When Gatsby showed her around his splendid house, she admired this aspect or that she saw.
Later Gatsby took out a pile of shirts and threw them one by one before her. She liked these beautiful shirts so much that she even cried out. “They’re such beautiful shirts. ” “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before. ”(Gatsby, p124) Daisy was like a beautiful vase because she hadn’t any practical value. The persons whom Daisy liked were also beautiful without any true value. When she took part in Gatsby’s party, she saw many celebrated people who could only be seen on TV, which made her interested and excited. Perhaps you know that lady,” Gatsby indicated a gorgeous, scarcely human orchid of a woman who sat in state under a white-plum tree. Tom and Daisy started, with that peculiarly unreal feeling that accompanies the recognition of a hitherto ghostly celebrity of the movies. “She’s lovely,” said Daisy. … “I’ve never met so many celebrities,” Daisy exclaimed. “I like that man—what was his name? –with the sort of blue nose. ” (Gatsby, p140-141) Daisy was just a pose, a vase without any true value in reality. Her exist was to arrest men’s attention and to get men’s compliments and then she was dependent on them.
Daisy 15 was an unfortunate woman in reality because she couldn’t make a living independently, and she had to attach herself to a man, which was her way to live in this world. Daisy married Tom Buchanan because of his large wealth and high position. She wanted her life shaped now, immediately—and the decision must be made by some force—of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality—that was close at hand. That force took shape in the middle of spring with the arrival of Tom Buchanan. There was a wholesome bulkiness about his person and his position, and was flattered. (Gatsby, p202)
Daisy knew that her husband Tom Buchanan didn’t care about her and had a mistress outside, so she complained about her misfortune to Nick when he first visited the Buchanans. Nick felt disgusted when he went back from the Buchanans after hearing the complaint from Daisy. “It seemed to me that the thing for Daisy to do was to rush out of the house, child in arms—but apparently there were no such intentions in her head. ”(Gatsby, p27) Daisy couldn’t control her fate and she felt sad for herself, so she wanted to change her fate with Gatsby’s help, but Tom destroyed Gatsby’s dream totally and went away with her in a hurry.
Daisy had to go on living with Tom, which was her fate, so in reality she was also an unfortunate woman. Daisy couldn’t really love anyone else, so Gatsby couldn’t get true love from her no matter whether he was penniless or wealthy, which was the basic reason for the failure of Gatsby’s dream. But Gatsby was a man as well as platonic son of God. “He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must be about His Father’s business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. (Gatsby, p131) He desired Daisy; only she seemed remotely to embody his dream, and the dream was of heaven on earth. Gatsby bought a splendid house across the bay of Daisy’s and held parties day and night on every weekend to arrest Daisy’s coming and this form itself reversed the relationship between love and wealth, so it seemed wealth was more important than love itself. The people taking part in Gatsby’s parties didn’t know him at all and they even didn’t see him before, so all sorts of rumors spread over the parties. They came here because they wanted to prove that they also had positions and taste.
They needed the experience of attending these big parties to prove their positions, and Gatsby also needed them to raise 16 his social position. Because of these mutual needs, the parties could be held on every weekend. But his generosity couldn’t get the admiration of the upper class and nobody could remember him after they went away from his big parties. “However, that was my fault, for he was one of those who used to sneer most bitterly at Gatsby on the courage of Gatsby’s liquor, and I should have known better than to call him. ” (Gatsby, p227) Although Gatsby ave big parties at weekends, he held aloof from his own parties and merely observed the things coldly: the cocktails, the syncopation of music and movement, the self-satisfied songs of the period. The nature of Mr. Tostoff’s composition eluded me, because just as it began my eyes fell on Gatsby, standing alone on the marble steps and looking from one group to another with approving eyes. His tanned skin was drawn attractively tight on his face and his short hair looked as though it were trimmed every day. I could see nothing sinister about him.
I wondered if the fact that he was not drinking helped to set him off from his guests, for it seemed to me that he grew more correct as the fraternal hilarity increased. (Gatsby, p67) Gatsby was an extraordinary hero of the Jazz Age because he created wealth by diligence and discipline but he didn’t really understand the true value of wealth in real life—that’s wealth made people enjoy life. He didn’t know this point, so he still lived a simple life. “His bedroom was the simplest room of all—except where the dresser was garnished with a toilet set of pure dull gold. (Gatsby, p122) He held big parties not to enjoy himself, but to arrest his first love Daisy’s coming. “For him money is only the means for the fulfillment of ‘his incorruptible dream’. ” (Piper 1970:131) When the party was over and the guests went away, Gatsby soaked in large loneliness and at this moment he was his true self. This made Gatsby different from his contemporaries and made him a heroic character. A wafer of a moon was shining over Gatsby’s house, making the night fine as before, and surviving the laughter and the sound of his still glowing garden.
A sudden emptiness seemed to flow now from the windows and the great doors, endowing with complete isolation the figure of the host, who stood on the porch, his hand up in a formal gesture of farewell. (Gatsby, p75) Fitzgerald developed the tragedy of Jay Gatsby as the consequence of his quixotic quest for Daisy. Daisy represented that “vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty”(Gatsby, p131) to which Gatsby aspired. The trouble with Gatsby’s quest is that Daisy is completely 17 incapable of playing the role assigned to her. She was as shallow as the other hollow people who inhabited the Long Island.
In the novel, Daisy’s husband Tom Buchanan was the direct destroyer of Gatsby’s dream. Both Gatsby and Tom possessed wealth, but they were different in nature. Gatsby earned his wealth by diligence and discipline and used his wealth to arrest his first love Daisy and claim it for himself, while Tom lacked any large goals and squandered freely on the warm bed of the wealth that his fathers had created. In the end, Tom went away with Daisy in a hurry, while Gatsby was killed by the deranged husband of Tom’s mistress,George Wilson.
At last Tom served as Gatsby’s executioner, because he stirred up George Wilson to kill Gatsby. Nick Carraway, the witness and commentator of the disillusionment of the American dream of Gatsby, had a special relationship with every character in the novel. He was Daisy Fay’s cousin and Tom Buchanan’s classmate in college, so he had known the Buchanans for a long time. He was also Gatsby’s present neighbor, but he didn’t know Gatsby before, and on the contrary, he heard of many rumors of Gatsby. Nick noticed for the first time the shadowy silhouette of his mysterious neighbor Gatsby standing on the beach nearby.
On his first visit to the Buchanans’ in New York, Nick got to know Jordan Baker, one of Daisy’s good friends, and from her he heard the love story of Gatsby and Daisy in their youth. Later Jordan became Nick’s girlfriend. Nick rooted in the traditional morality of the Middle West and stood on a higher level and observed others around him at a distance. “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life. ”(Gatsby, p48) After seeing the bustle of Gatsby’s parties and the desolation after Gatsby’s death, he began to think of his life in east.
What he saw east was a waste land without moral sanctions of any kind, an anarchy in which romantic idealists like Gatsby were the most vulnerable of all. He learned that the rich were different from you and me in more than their habituation to the appurtenances of wealth. “After Gatsby’s death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eyes’ power of correction. So when the blue smoke of brittle leaves was in the air and the wind blew the wet laundry stiff on the line I decided to come back home. ”(Gatsby, p236) To do this Nick must possess not only sympathy but also the capacity for moral judgment. 8 The Great Gatsby is a religious work because it has as its source a deeply religious emotion. The novel is especially important because it makes explicit the religious considerations that served its author as the basis for the moral judgments. The failure of Gatsby is the destruction of the creative spirits of the human and a sad chapter of the American history. 2. 2 The Reasons for the Disillusionment of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby Gatsby thinks himself different—very different—from the common run of mankind.
He is the pursuer of the American dream in the twenties and he keeps the traditional morality in his quality: sincerity, generosity, diligence and discipline. He begins his pursuit of goodness and beauty, but that pursuit ultimately ends in tragedy. Why does Gatsby fail? Fitzgerald developed the tragedy of Jay Gatsby as the consequence of his quixotic quest for Daisy Fay. Daisy represented that “vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty”(Gatsby, p131) to which Gatsby aspired. The trouble with Gatsby’s quest was that Daisy was completely incapable of playing the role assigned to her.
She was as shallow as the other hollow people who inhabited Fitzgerald’s Long Island. She could never become a legitimate actualization of Gatsby’s illegitimate dream. Daisy’s husband Tom Buchanan was the direct destroyer of the American dream of Gatsby in the novel. He was wealth brutalized by selfishness and arrogance and did not really love anyone else, but he was always alert and aggressive. When he was aware that his wife would be brought away from him by another man, he adopted any means to get rid of the opponent.
Daisy was the spirit of wealth and at heart she was as self-centered as Tom and even colder. Both Tom and Daisy belonged to the old moneyed class where wealth took the form of sordid possessions. Both were the representatives of a class with its origins and ways of life nourished by wealth, and were sordid and spiritually barren yet extremely powerful. “–they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…”(Gatsby,p240) Tom’s “hard 9 malice”(Gatsby, p197) and Daisy’s carelessness easily destroyed Gatsby’s vulgar romanticism and left him helpless but not ultimately corrupted. Gatsby died of both his naivety and the Buchanans’ selfishness and cruelty, so his sincerity and generosity were swallowed up by the evil of the upper class. It seemed that the Buchanans were the direct destroyers of Jay Gatsby’s American dream in the novel, but they were just the superficial destroyers and there was still the profound reason for the disillusionment of Gatsby’s dream.
It was that the transformations of traditional morality made people not believe in any hero of the American dream but pursue individual pleasure. As a serious writer, Fitzgerald was already aware of the spiritual emptiness and moral decadence under the superficial splendor and prosperity of the Jazz Age, so Gatsby, a self-made man in the twenties with sincerity, kindness, diligence and discipline was the most vulnerable figure of that age and was doomed to fail in the end.
In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald was certainly aware of the American tradition as it has being developed by his contemporaries in the twenties. Jay Gatsby was not only a representative of the Roaring Twenties in which he lived, he also came inevitably to stand for American past. “Fitzgerald was concerned with the generic American character, the national style, and the native tradition. ”(Piper 1970:201). Jay Gatsby was the representative figure of a self-made man in the twenties. He was born in a poor family in the west, and his parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people.
He came to the big city New York where the young men were inspired to make the most of their opportunities to get the key to fortune for the ambitious poor, who believed that the most successful men in history, just like Benjamin Franklin, had been men “of humble origin, narrow fortune, small advantages, and self-taught. ”(Piper 1970:209) The poor boy inspired to great deeds by the example of Franklin has testified to the influence of Franklin on his life, so Gatsby by industry had got wealth and fame. Important though Franklin was as a symbol and inspiration, the magnificent economic opportunities of the wenties constituted a far more important inspiration to young men in quest of wealth. In that age success was conceived almost invariably in terms of business success. Business publicists succeeded in creating a kind of mystique, in which business was the salvation of the nation and the world. According to the results of the investigation of a Brooklyn 20 clergyman, Wilbur F. Crafts, most successful merchants were the farmers’ sons and they worked harder, and were more resolute, obedient, and cheerful than native New Yorkers.
In the character of Jay Gatsby, Fitzgerald created a quintessential American dreamer, a man of great imagination, inordinate ambition, extraordinary hope. But Gatsby’s dream—the American dream—had been nurtured in the agrarian past that was no more and the future to which Gatsby aspired was indeed in the past. As an American writer of the new breed in the twenties Fitzgerald believed that America had been transformed—transformed by the onset of an overwhelming process of industrialization and urbanization which had superannuated traditional American beliefs—beliefs nurtured in the bosom of the agrarian past.
In these circumstances, a revolution in manners and morals was inevitable. He thought that America was generally “new” in the twenties and the transitional years had passed; the change from the rural-agricultural past to the urban-industrial future during the nineteenth century was relatively complete. Fitzgerald said directly, “American was going on the greatest, gaudiest spree in history and there was going to be plenty to tell about it. ” (Cowley 1973:25)The gaudiest spree in history was also a moral revolt, and beneath the revolt were social transformations.
The twenties were the age when Puritanism was under attack, with the Protestant churches losing their dominant position; the twenties were the age when American culture became urban instead of rural and when New York set the social and intellectual standards of the country; the twenties were the age when a production ethic—of saving and self-denial in order to accumulate capital for new enterprises—gave way to a consumption ethic that was needed to provide lines.
Instead of being exhorted to save money, more and more of it, people were being exhorted in a thousand ways to buy, enjoy, use once and throw away, in order to buy a later and more expensive model. They followed the instructions, with the result that more goods were produced and consumed or wasted and money was easier to earn or borrow than ever in the past. Young men and women of Fitzgerald’s time, no matter how rebellious and cynical they thought of themselves as being, still clung to their childhood notion that the world would improve without their help.
Plunging into their personal adventures, they took risks that didn’t impress them as being risks because, in their hearts, they believed in the happy ending. They liked to say yes to every proposal that 21 suggested excitement. They hastened to take part in all kinds of parties to enjoy every possible pleasure. In the novel there was a vivid description of the splendor of Gatsby’s party, which was the real reflection of the young people’s life of the Jazz Age. There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights.
In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. At high tide in the afternoon I watched his guests diving from the tower of his raft, or taking the sun on the hot sand of his beach while his two motor-boats slit the waters of the Sound, drawing aquaplanes over cataracts of foam. On week-ends his Rolls-Royce became an omnibus, bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight, while his station wagon scampered like a brisk yellow bug to meet all trains.
And on Mondays eight servants, including an extra gardener, toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and gardenshears, repairing the ravages of the night before. Every Friday five crates of oranges and lemons arrived from a fruiterer in New York—every Monday these same oranges and lemons left his back door in a pyramid of pulpless halves. There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb. (Gatsby, p52-53)
On the party everyone needn’t know the names of anyone else and talked friendly as if they knew each other well for a long time. Fitzgerald lived in his great moments, and lived again when he produced his novels, but he also stood apart from them and coldly reckoned the causes and consequences of the age. The transformations of the traditional morality in the twenties made people pursue individual pleasure and not admire any self-made hero longer, so the young man Gatsby with much imagination to the American dream was doomed to fail in the end.
The Great Gatsby was an acid and accurate picture of the modes of the young people in the twenties. In designing his fiction, Fitzgerald admittedly gave most of his thought to technical problems of narrative art. Fitzgerald’s narrator Nick Caraway served as the vehicle for his thoughts. As the witness and commentator of the disillusionment of the American dream, Nick had many special qualities. Nick was born into a family in the Middle West with a long established and sufficient fortune, so he was not corrupted by seeking or spending money in the twenties.
Nick was nearly thirty years old, and he had come east after the war to learn the bond business, but his moral roots were in the Middle West. Nick had the older values that prevailed in the Middle West before the First World War. He stood on a higher level and observed the people around him at a distance and hesitated to criticize them. “I 22 was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life. ”(Gatsby, p48) The two characters in the novel Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway were not opposites but rather complements.
Nick was wise, experienced, waking, realistic, and historical, while Gatsby was innocent, sleeping and dreamy. Nick could look at the facts and saw them as tragic; Gatsby tried to transform the facts by an act of the imagination. Nick’s mind was conservative and historical, as was his lineage; Gatsby’s was radical and apocalyptic—as rootless as his heritage. Nick was always withdrawing, while Gatsby pursued the American dream. Nick chose to leave after seeing the disillusionment of the American dream, while Gatsby experienced ecstasy and lost his life. They were two of the types of humanity: the moralist and the radical.
Nick affirmed Gatsby’s greatness by seeing him as the prototype of the dreamers who established the new world. In some points Nick and Gatsby could be regarded as the two sides of Fitzgerald himself because he was both a serious writer and a pursuer of the American dream in the twenties. Early in his literary career, Fitzgerald had concluded that, “There is no such thing as ‘getting your values straightened out’ except for third-class minds; the test of the first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. 6 Fitzgerald asserted as a part of his literary creed in 1920, “An author ought to write for the youth of his own generation. ”(Spencer 1981:149) A self-made young man Jay Gatsby is just the representative figure of his generation. Gatsby’s love and the American dream connect closely because his first love Daisy is the embodiment of his dream. Daisy is the symbol of wealth and position, and marrying Daisy means entering into the upper class, so he devotes his whole life to win her back.
Fitzgerald deeply felt the transformations of the values of traditional morality and people would not admire any self-made hero longer and they only cared about individual enjoyment. So in a society with spiritual emptiness and moral decadence, Gatsby with much imagination was doomed to fail. 1 NOTES Ian Ousby, A Reader’s Guide to Fifty American Novels (London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd,1979)218. Charles Scribner’s Sons,1970)201. 2 Henry Dan Piper, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: The Novel, The Critics, The Background (New York: 23 4 Ann Massa, American Literature in Context IV: 1900-1930 (New York: Metheun & Co. Ltd,1982)148. Malcolm Cowley, A Second Flowering: works and days of the lost generation (New York: The Viking Press,1973)34. The University of Alabama Press,2003)22. York: Burt Franklin & Co. ,Inc. ,1981)147. 5 Ronald Berman, Fitzgerald-Wilson-Hemingway Language and Experience (Tuscalooca and London: 6 Benjamin T. Spencer, Patterns of Nationality: Twentieth-Century Literary Versions of America (New 24 Chapter III The Disillusionment of the American Dream in Tender Is the Night
Tender Is the Night is Fitzgerald’s another important novel after The Great Gatsby and it is also regarded as one of his best books. The novel focuses on the same theme as reflected in The Great Gatsby—the disillusionment of the American dream of a self-made man in the twenties. Fitzgerald put into this novel many of his wise and tragic beliefs about personal identity, the value of the traditional virtues—“honor, courtesy, courage”(Night, p237), love, money, the dignity of work, material Fitzgerald found “so harrowing and highly charged”1 because it was the hard-earned product of years of painful and costly experiences.
Fitzgerald made the following main outline of the story and character sketch of the hero: “The novel should do this. Show a man who is a natural idealist, a spoiled priest, giving in for various causes to the ideas of the haute Burgeoise, and in his rise to the top of the social world losing his idealism, his talent and turning to drink and dissipation. Background one in which the leisure class is at their truly most brilliant & glamorous such as Murphys. ” (Stavola 1979:147)
Dick Diver is the central character of Tender Is the Night, and like Jay Gatsby he is also the pursuer of the American dream in the twenties and at last fails both at his life and at his profession totally. Like Jay Gatsby, Dick is also born into a poor family, but he goes in college and medicine school by efforts. After his graduation he has a good wish—that is to become the greatest doctor that ever lived. The novel tells us the deterioration of Dick Diver from an excellent graduate to a dissipated doctor after his more han decade of marriage to the beautiful and wealthy girl Nicole from the upper class and reveals the hypocrisy, selfishness, and meanness of the upper class and the destructive power of wealth to humanity. The novel is divided into three books, and in every book there is one main character, so the point of view of every part is not the same. In Book One the young actress Rosemary Hoyt, eighteen years old without any experience, is the main character. Book One is a long opening section describing the initiation of Rosemary Hoyt into the Divers’ social circle, so she leads us to the world of the Divers.
In Book Two the central character 25 Dick Diver of the novel is also the main character of this part, and his youth and marriage to Nicole are portrayed in detail before us to reveal his deterioration from an excellent graduate to a dissipated doctor. In Book Three Dick’s mad wife Nicole rises amid occasional setbacks to new levels of stability and self-discovery. With health and independence Nicole could feel and think, so from her point of view Dick Diver’s deterioration was revealed before us more clearly and totally.
Fitzgerald was a great writer. He divided the novel into three books and shifted the point of view of every book to make the central character Dick Diver become a round character, so we could see clearly the deterioration of a young man Dick Diver from an excellent graduate with the American dream to a dissipated doctor with nothing remained—no family, no friends and no profession. The character Dick Diver is much truer than Jay Gatsby as if he lived in our life. He is as good as Gatsby, but nobody could really understand him.
This chapter mainly discusses the formation of the American dream of a young man Dick Diver and the relationship between his love and dream and then analyzes the real reasons of the failure of his dream. In 3. 1 the formation of Dick’s dream and the relationship of his love and the American dream would be analyzed in detail. Dick learned his idealism—a code of morality and a set of manners connected with the pre-Civil War South from his father, a Protestant minister.