This passage from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald comes from the final page of the novel, and is the narrator’s way of summing up the story and showing the ineffectiveness of the American dream. In this passage, we are also reminded why Jay Gatsby held on to Daisy for so long through Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism and imagery.
The green light is used in this passage to represent the American dream, more specifically Gatsby’s dream, which is Daisy. The Green light in Gatsby’s mind represents a new beginning for Daisy and him. Due to Daisy’s wealth, high social class and extravagant life style, she was the perfect embodiment to signify the American dream. The green light is also associated with hope for the European immigrants looking for land, ‘and 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.’ This passage shows how immigrants see America as a land of promise and full of possibilities. However, Nick sees this land as a symbol for those who have succeeded and claimed the land, destroying the hopes and promises of a future for others. The darkness at beginning of the passage, ‘there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat…’ illustrates the effect of Gatsby’s death on Nick.
Furthermore, Nick also describes the negative aspects of the American dream in this passage by using Gatsby. “Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house.” This shows how unreasonably large Gatsby’s house that much of the original landscape had been sacrificed for the sake of materialism. Not only does this phenomenon occur with the environment and setting, but also with the characters in the novel. Gatsby changes almost everything about his personality and past to fit in with the upper class and wealthy people, instead of relying on his actual personality to make Daisy fall in love with him again.
Moreover, Fitzgerald uses colour to once again represent Daisy. ‘He had come a long way to his blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.’ The ‘dream’ is Daisy and the world that she represents. Gatsby, throughout the novel, had come so close to get her after all of his immense effort and hardship. However, his attempts at winning Daisy were ineffective due to the different upbringings they had. Gatsby, no matter how hard he tried, would never be her social equal and she would never have been able to stay with him whilst keeping the same lifestyle she had grown used to. As a result, Gatsby and Daisy would have never worked together, which made everything that Gatsby worked so hard to achieve completely useless and ineffective-showing the truth to the American dream. Gatsby had completely hoped and planned a future with Daisy, that would have only been possible in the past. His material success was actually a failure in the big picture; it seemed to put his dreams within reach, but actually warped