So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end (Fitzgerald 104).
Nicks description of Gatsbys facade reveals that in Gatsbys attempt to acquire the essence of the American dream, he had to sacrifice himself and create a new identity. As such, an aura of sadness and loneliness lingers about Gatsbys existence as he lets go of his past and his own identity in the hope of finding happiness. In fact, on an individual level, while this represents the Modernist element of the dichotomy between illusion and reality, Gatsbys character is also doing that which Modernism as a genre seeks to do: create a disconnect with the past.
Since Jay Gatsby is not even his real name, one wonders what other elements of this man, whose real name is James Gatz, are based in illusion.
Sadly, Gatsby had believed in his dream of Daisy and the happiness that may come from that for so long that he could not face reality, even when it may have been in his best interest to face it:
There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion (101).
Gatsby truly believed that if he only could live up to others expectations of what he should be and what he should have or, in other words, if.