This thesis aims to investigate the protagonist, Jay Gatsby, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. The timeless classic The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a representative of the “Lost Generation” of American literature. The novel describes the good time of the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. Through the narrative of the complex relationships among the three main characters, Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom, it shows the most splendid and the most degenerate appearances of the period.
Chapter I will provide an introduction to the background and history of the “Lost Generation” and the relationships between Fitzgerald and his works. Chapter II will be focused on Gatsby, the protagonist. It will not only study Gatsby’s American dream, but also analyze the American dream in that period. Through looking at the origins and development of the American Dream, the main social values of wealth and class issues of the “Lost Generation” will be criticized. Chapter III will closely analyze the four main characters from the perspectives of psychoanalytic theory, and further explore the spiritual changes and circumstances of the four roles in facing the American Dream. In Chapter IV, discussions of social changes at different levels will demonstrate how they affect human beings during 1920s in some sense.
In the concluding chapter, the main ideas discussed in the previous chapters will be restated. Through The Great Gatsby, we learn that in spite of some flaws in Gatsby’s character, Fitzgerald still encourages people to reach for some wisdom in the ups and downs of life.