(1.152) 's meditation on The American Dream—the idea that people are always reaching towards something greater than themselves that is just out of reach.
is a tragic love story on the surface, but it's most commonly understood as a pessimistic critique of the American Dream.
In the novel, Jay Gatsby overcomes his poor past to gain an incredible amount of money and a limited amount of social cache in 1920s NYC, only to be rejected by the "old money" crowd.
And as we mentioned above, the 1920s were a particularly tense time in America.
We also meet George and Myrtle Wilson in Chapter 2, both working class people who are working to improve their lot in life, George through his work, and Myrtle through her affair with Tom Buchanan.