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The Great Gatsby

            On the superficial level, The Great Gatsby tells the story of a young middle class man who happens to get mixed up in the chaotic affairs of his wealthy cousin and neighbor. F. Scott Fitzgerald's story of life in the 1920s is much more than it appears to be, though. Even such things as the colors used in description play a crucial part in the "big picture" of the entire novel. Symbolism adds a whole other level of comprehension to the story. Even from the smallest pieces of the puzzle, this symbolism broadens the view of what the "big picture" of the novel actually is. These pieces of the puzzle come even from the characters themselves when viewed merely as symbols and the setting when analyzed more closely. .
             The character of Jay Gatsby himself is a symbol of the "American dream." His entire life, Gatsby strives to convert himself and his life into what all Americans wish to attain. Only through hard work and an adventurous nature, though, can these goals usually be accomplished. An object that helps support the idea that Gatsby represents the "American dream" is his childhood "schedule" kept on a blank page in a copy of The Adventures of Hopalong Cassidy. .
             "Rise from bed .6:00 AM .
             Dumbbell exercise and wall-scaling . .6:15-6:30 " .
             Study electricity, etc. . .7:15-8:15 " .
             Work 8:30-4:30 PM .
             Baseball and sports .4:30-5:00 " .
             Practice elocution, poise and how to attain it .5:00-6:00 " .
             Study needed inventions .7:00-9:00 " .
             GENERAL RESOLVES .
             No wasting time at Shafters or (indecipherable name) .
             No more smoking or chewing .
             Bath every other day .
             Read one improving book or magazine per week .
             Save $5.00 $3.00 per week .
             Be better to parents" (174). .
             Hopalong Cassidy is a typically romantic American figure of heroism and adventure. Gatsby's program for self-improvement written in the back of this book reflects Gatsby's struggle to acquire the two basic qualities of the American Hero: hard-working ambition and a robust desire for adventure.

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