The novel The Great Gatsby written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald is considered the quintessential book about the American Dream. The story is told from the point of view of a first person narrator, Nick Carraway. At the beginning of the book Nick introduces the reader to Gatsby and hates everything about him. As the novel progresses Gatsby goes from being a very hidden character then as the story goes on he begins to crumble when he loses Daisy, the girl of his dreams. Fitzgerald builds up the hopes for Gatsby achieving his American Dream but then the reader slowly watches his dream fade away because he cannot move from the past. The American Dream is a failure because Gatsby lives in the past when everyone around him as moved forward.
Jay Gatsby was born James Gatz, was from a poor background and from a young age longed to achieve better for himself. Gatsby created a new life for himself with the hope of achieving the American Dream. His parents did not make a lot of money from farming, so Gatsby wanted a wealthier and happier life for himself. At the age of seventeen, "James Gatz- that was really, or at least legally his name" (98), began to call himself Jay Gatsby when he met Dan Cody. Gatsby changed his name to move on from his previous life. With Dan Cody Gatsby traveled around the world on a yacht, got an education at Oxford and got a taste of the wealthy life, "to young Gatz, resting on his oars and looking up at the railed deck, that yacht represented all the beauty and glamour in the world" (100). Gatsby was amazed by what he could achieve with lifestyle like Dan Cody. Gatsby tried achieving the American Dream by changing his name and forgetting his family and upbringing. However while docking in Boston, Dan Cody died. Cody left Gatsby, "a legacy of twenty-five thousand dollars. [Gatsby] didn't get it" (100). Cody's former mistress inherited all the money and Gatsby was right back where he started, poor.