The Cost of Pursuing a Dream?

What is

“Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is Alchemy’s first law of Equivalent Exchange...we really believed that to be the world’s one and only truth.”

- Alphonse Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist)


- a mental conception held in common by members of a group and symbolic of a basic attitude and orientation


In The Great Gatsby, every character in the story had to sacrifice something to obtain something else. Image was one of the aspects to be sacrificed. Beginning with Gatsby, he sacrificed his image to gain wealth and win back Daisy. Nick didn't really hurt his image probably because . Daisy was seen as an innocent woman in the beginning but as the story progresses and the car accident is shown, her image changes drastically; from an innocent women to a person who has no responsibility. Nick states how “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made”(Fitzgerald). Tom doesn't care about anything as long as his life (as well as other's) is under his control. Carefree but careless as mentioned in the previous quote. All Jordan wanted was fame and fortune. She lied and cheated but wasn't visibly shown to been have successful. "At her first big golf tournament there was a row that nearly reached the newspapers- a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round" (Fitzgerald, 57). Myrtle is seen to be portrayed as a women who's cheated her husband without his knowing and paid to be another's wife although it is claimed to be love. Wilson has nothing but his wife, his life and his garage. He didn't even require the loss of image to avenge Myrtle's death.

Goldman, Sachs is the real life portrayal of the characters in Gatsby. They worked hard indeed to attain a high standard among their competitors and clients. But what they did after that was wrong. They sold stocks and bet on its loss and in turn made more money. This was more of a conspiracy than earning. Gordon Gekko, in his speech, talks about how greed is good.

Greed is Good

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good.

Greed is right.

Greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind.

And greed -- you mark my words -- will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA.


  • “It occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well.” —Nick Carraway (The Great Gatsby)

  • Nick describes Tom and Daisy as careless people who destroy peoples lives and then use their money to clean up the mess. They dont care about any responsibilities and just do whatever they want to do.

  • “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” —Nick Carraway (quoting his father), (The Great Gatsby)

  • "At her first big golf tournament there was a row that nearly reached the newspapers- a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round. The thing approached the proportions of a scandal- thne died away. A caddy retracted his statement, and the only other witness admitted that he might have been mistaken. The incident and the name had remained together in my mind" (Fitzgerald 57)

  • Charles Morris: I had a friend who was a bond trader at Merrill Lynch in the 1970s. He had a job as a train conductor at night, 'cause he had three kids and couldn't support them on what a bond trader made. By 1986, he was making millions of dollars, and thought it was because he was smart. (The Inside Job)

  • "And where does Mr. Cromwell put his million-dollar salary? Not in Teldar stock; he owns less than 1 percent. You own the company. That's right -- you, the stockholder." (Greed is Good)

  • “While the U.S. government turned a tidy profit on the Citi deal, earning almost $15.5 billion from it, the financial damage inflicted on the nation and its citizens is both staggering and historic -- but not in a good way.” (Wall Street's Great Recession)

  • The conversation given at the end of "In Goldman, Sachs We Trust"

Each source depicts and supports my answer since the sacrifice of one's image is seen in all sources.

In the case of the characters of Gatsby, each sacrificed their image to:

Gatsby - save Daisy and make his time he spent with her worth it

Nick - retain his personality

Daisy - stay safe

Tom - have life go his way: everything under his control

Jordan - be successful

Myrtle - have a life with Tom

Similarly, the corporations mentioned in the other sources sacrificed their image to gain money even through cunning means.

Sources Used

  • Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print.

  • The Inside Job

  • Wall Street

  • O'Connell, Brian. "Wall Streets' Great Recession Cost Us All $30 Trillion." The Street. The Street, 12 Sept. 2013. Web. 07 Jan. 2014.

  • Galbraith, John Kenneth, and James K. Galbraith. "In Goldman, Sachs We Trust." John Kenneth Galbraith: The Affluent Society and Other Writings, 1952-1967. New York, NY: Library of America, 2010. N. pag. Print.