The final line of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” has been interpreted in various ways. Nick Carraway is reflecting on the events of the summer he spent with Gatsby and his friends, as well as the difficulty of trying to outrun one’s past. One interpretation is that Nick is recognizing the unstoppable nature of time and how, no matter how hard one tries, they cannot escape their past experiences and the decisions they have made. The “boats against the current” symbolize the characters’ attempts to move forward and build new lives for themselves, but the “current” symbolizes the past and the memories that continually draw them back. Another interpretation is that Nick is emphasizing the theme of the American Dream and how it is an unattainable fantasy. The characters in the novel are trying to achieve wealth and joy, but their efforts are constantly hindered by their past and the truth of their circumstances. Regardless of the interpretation, the last line of “The Great Gatsby” serves as a sorrowful reminder of the restrictions of human life and the inevitability of time’s progression. It highlights the futility of trying to escape one’s past and the inevitability of having to confront and deal with one’s mistakes and regrets.
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