The Great Gatsby

The idea of boats against the current seems a failing task.   The idea of trying to go against natural law is also mirrored in the idea of the new American dream compared to the old original dream, and can therefore be seen to ultimately fail.   At the end of the novel, Fitzgerald explains how Dutch sailors first came to American, and by using words such as ‘fresh’, ‘green’, we get a complete contrast to the American today – the 1920s – of the ‘valley of ashes’ and language such as ‘dust’.   The original American dream was to travel from East to West in search of prosperous land.   However, like all the other dreams of the characters in the novel, once this dream is achieved it is corrupted.   The corrupted version of this dream becomes the modern American dream, which is travelled west to east – as Tom, Daisy and Nick have, in search of no longer land, but money and material goods.   The modern dream is going against natural law, as the boat against the current, and therefore is bound to fail.   The reversal of this dream is reversing itself against the current.
Another significance the sentence “so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” holds for our understanding can be in relation to Nick’s romanticised idea of Gatsby.   Nick holds Gatsby, perhaps unrealistically, perfect.   “Gatsby turned out alright the end; it is what preyed on Gatbsy, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and shortwinded elations of men”.   He hangs on to his original idea of Gatsby being influenced by the corruption, and not Gatsby adding to the corruption already in place.   Nick even goes as far to run out graffiti written about Gatsby after his death.   Nick can be seen as the boat, beating back against time and Gatsby’s reputation.
In conclusion, the significance of the last line of the novel can relate to many aspects, and helps us understand the theme of the recapturing a dream...