In my opinion there are two main aspects which cause the failure of Gatsby.
One is Gatsby’s “ideal”. I think Gatsby’s “ideal” is the main cause of failure. One part of
Gatsby’s “ideal” or his first “dream” is to get rich. He thinks money can buy love and happiness,
so t seems to him that dream s quite reasonable. But he never realizes this is a “common dream”. Tracing back the source of the dream we know it is a popular “dream” in America. It originates from the “gold rush” in American history. In that period, the bourgeoisie blows its own trumpet
that American s a “golden world”. They say everyone has h same opportunity to make a fortune so long as he or she toils honestly.
Gatsby is one of the believers of such a “dream”. He has been longing to get rich and stand out
among rich people. In his youth he worships a “hard” and dissolute man named Dan Cody, who makes himself “many times a millionaire”. He is infatuated with Daisy because he is “amazed” at Daisy’s “beautiful house…shining motor cars”, and other aspects of an elegant life. All of her
luxurious life makes him “overwhelmingly aware of youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves”, and makes him think that the rich can be “safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor”. So Gatsby, full of drive, attempt to reach his goal of getting rich. From Chapter Nine, we know Gatsby did have an energetic “schedule” in his childhood, such as getting u at six in the morning, beginning to study electricity at a quarter past seven, and until seven to nine in the evening “studying needed inventions”, it seems that not a second s to be lost. He also has a wonderful “general resolves”, which set strict demands on himself, such as “not wasting time,…no more smoking,…read one improving book or magazine per week and save $500 per
week”. Anyway he was dreaming to better himself all the time in order that he could get rich some
If we think Gatsby “dreams” at a very early age because he is trying to train himself for the late “dream”, then he “dreams” at the adult age surely because he is trying to capture Daisy. Here,
obviously, Gatsby’s second “dream” is the dream of love, and this is the heart of his ultimate ideal. This is only a means to reach his ideal of love. But his view of love is not merely a marriage between him and a woman. From Chapter Six, we know “he knew women early”…”since they spoiled him, he became contemptuous of them, of young virgins because they were ignorant, of others because they were hysterical about things”. But why does he admire Daisy? The cause is
very simple. He admires Daisy because Daisy represents the elegance and virtue of the upper class. Just as I mentioned above, Daisy is a symbol for Gatsby to understand what an “ideal” is. Gatsby thinks that he can become “great” if he marries Daisy. So in order to marry her, he reads
newspapers to look for Daisy, buys a mansion so that Daisy will be across the bay, and holds the fabulous party to attract Daisy to come over. But as he “almost” realizes his “ideal”, he is killed by Tom, who blames the accident on him. And that moment marks the end of his “ideal”.
Gatsby’s death can easily remind people of why Gatsby can’t realize his “ideal”, or what the causes of his failure are.
The second aspect is the society. Undoubtedly, Gatsby’s failure is an inevitable fate of nobody
in the society in which there is a class distinction. As we know, in the bourgeois society not every one can make his fortune, only a few people can, and these people make their fortune by crushing others, or by some means of cruel and evil force or trickery. This is true with Gatsby. Gatsby becomes an “upstart” through some criminal activities, not through his honestly, thrift and hard work. Actually Gatsby lives a short time luxuriously with his ill-gotten wealth, but he is overwhelmed by those who have deeper roots, and power and influence. So in the end he “was
broken up like glass against Tom’s hard malice”. Obviously Tom in the novel is a representative of the privileged class. Just as the book says, he belongs to “a rather distinguished secret society”. He is so insolent and presumptuous that he thinks it is right and proper for him t enjoy privilege. In his mind there is ever an “indiscernible barbed wire between his world and Gatsby’s”. If anyone dares to climb over the “barbed wire” and share their privileges, he will be destroyed. Therefore, although Gatsby gets rich through criminal activities and “formed a ladder”, he fails o mount to Tom’s “secret place”, and even fails to “gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder”. No matter how extravagant his parties are, what he changes his name into, and how careful he is, he never crazes his background of nobody from the lower class. Anyway, the upper class never forgets this point, so they always look down upon him, and exclude him. Even when they are enjoying his free dinner, they never lose a moment to score him. They spread rumors about Gatsby, saying “he is a cousin of Kaiser Withem”, “a German spy” and an “Oxford man”, “he kills a man” and was involved in “the underground pipeline to Canada”. So it’s not only Tom, but also the whole upper
class that fights against him.
Gatsby lives in a society of class distinction. He surely attempts to force his way into the upper class, for he has a bad background-a son of a shiftless, poverty-driven farmer-and knows the very rich are different from the poor. So it is quite natural and reasonable that he “dreams”. In other words, we can say, it is the society that makes him dream, but it is also the society that doesn’t accept him.
So in a word, in the society of class distinction, Gatsby’s failure is an inevitable fate. His dream
originally is ruined and blind.