What Does The Great Gatsby’s Ending Mean?

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald leaves readers with a sense of emptiness, conveying multiple messages. First, it demonstrates Gatsby’s disappointment with the American Dream. Despite working hard and becoming a millionaire, he is unable to attain the love of his life, Daisy, and his efforts are ultimately in vain. This criticism of the American Dream reflects Fitzgerald’s own views on the topic.


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Second, the ending reflects Fitzgerald’s reflections on the Interbellum period, which was characterized by a sense of loss and aimlessness. The novel’s characters are all wealthy but lead unfulfilling lives, marked by superficiality and decadence. The emptiness of Gatsby’s life and his tragic end underscore the meaningless nature of the hedonistic lifestyles of the wealthy elite.


Finally, the novel invites readers to reflect on their own perceptions of the past and future. Gatsby idealizes his past with Daisy, but his inability to see her for who she is ultimately leads to his downfall. Similarly, people often idealize their pasts, which can lead to unrealistic expectations for the future. Fitzgerald’s final sentence, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” suggests that humans are unable to escape the past and are doomed to repeat it.


Overall, The Great Gatsby’s ending leaves readers with a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction, reflecting Fitzgerald’s critiques of the American Dream, his reflections on the Interbellum period, and his observations on human nature.


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