Perception and reality do not always align. Is true love really true love, or is it a farce, a self-created mythical re-interpretation of the thing we hold so dear? In The Great Gatsby, is Gatsby really in love with Daisy, or his vision of her? Does she feel the same way for him, or does she truly love him? And what does the green light at the end of Daisy's dock mean to Gatsby? As Gatsby falls in love with Daisy, Nick is slightly intrigued by this almost improbable match. How can a determined, wealthy man fall in love with a woman so shallow that she wishes her daughter to "be a fool... a beautiful little fool." (p. 17)? To everyone else, it's obvious that Daisy is extremely shallow, but to Gatsby, she's the most beautiful woman with the perfect personality: the American Dream, so to speak. So what is he in love with? The Dream, or 'the Daisy?' The Dream, of course.
The 'Daisy' he sees is a complete figment of his imagination, a part of his own personal American Dream, one that he's striving to have a little piece of. In the beginning of chapter one, we are shown a Gatsby in the middle of one of his weakest moments, when his guard is completely let down and his game face is off. He is looking out across the sea, and had "stretched his arms toward the... water...
I glanced seaward-and distinguished nothing except a single green light... far away... ." (p. 21) Obviously, the green light is Daisy's dock, but is it Daisy that the light symbolizes to him? Or is it, again, his version of Daisy, his own personalized vision of what he wants her to be: a part of his Dream to be sought after. He's got the money, the big house, parties every Friday with hundreds of people, but all of this is for the final piece of the pie: a girl. This is especially more impact ful because his money (or lack thereof) was the reason he never was able to get with Daisy in the first place.
This brings about another face of the argument: does this apply to Daisy as well? Daisy had been pressured to reject Jay Gatsby back during the war since he was a soldier, and short of money. Daisy came from old money, and didn't see Gatsby as a suitable mate for her solely on his monetary status. But now that Gatsby's 'all grown up' and rich, Daisy's suddenly in love again. Daisy falls for the same shallowness that Gatsby does. She doesn't love Gatsby for who he is-she does like him for his personality, partly, but it's mostly because he has the money now, and is therefore much more qualified to be with her. Daisy really doesn't want to be with Tom, for example, "I'd never seen a girl so mad about her husband" (p.
76) Jordan says, on how Daisy felt after marrying Tom. She wanted Gatsby. Or rather, she wanted to have a nice husband that would be a caring, rich gentleman. And Gatsby fills that idea up perfectly. Daisy is seeking her own version of the American Dream, and Gatsby just happens to be in it, just as Daisy happens to be in Gatsby's Dream.
The idea that they have fallen in love with, so to speak, is the corrupted American Dream of the 1920 s. Whereas the original American Dream was to live life and love it, it has been mutated into are more corrupt dream of the necessity of physical belongings and wealth. This is what both Gatsby and Daisy are truly pursuing, and their "love" as it appears on the outside isn't the entire story. Gatsby's 'version' of Daisy is a figment of his imagination, and is ruined by how wrongly applied this is. Daisy is none of the qualities Gatsby associates with her, and it's in plain sight. Everyone can see it but Gatsby.
This is Fitzgerald showing us how easily a dream can be corrupted. If a rich guy, seemingly at the top of his life, can be so easily blinded by a dream, what do you think of the entire country? The American Dream, as it is in the setting of the book, is totally corrupted by the seeking of money, wealth, material possession, and power, just as Daisy and Gatsby's dreams and images of each other are. Sometimes, love is blinding. This is exactly true for both of the characters as portrayed in the novel.
Daisy is blind to the fact that Gatsby really isn't on a solid foundation, and Gatsby's blinded to Daisy's shallowness. And that's exactly what the American Dream is: just a dream.