I have always been a “pusher.” Testing my limits: physical pain, tolerance, and mental strength. When someone tells me NO, how can I turn that into YES? Someone sees all black but I see a smidge of white, how can I show them. Challenges entice me. No one governs your capabilities other than you. This is a lesson and a way of life that I always find myself “falling back on” when I fail. Failure can be beautiful, it drives you to dig deeper to find a better solution/method which helps you discover a different more powerful side of yourself. Having lost my right calf in the 2013 Marathon Bombings, I suffered physical and mental pain which I overcame with the mentality expressed above. I was broken in every way. I took on a whole new list of challenges and succeeded in finding happiness. I help people daily with finding the right home. I am healthy, I contribute one hour per day to physical activity. I make time time to communicate with all of my blessings as often as possible. This life I live today is my American Dream.
In terms of what the novel says about American identity, there are a few threads you could pick up – one is Nick’s comment in Chapter 9 about the novel really being a story about (mid)westerners trying (and failing) to go East : “I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all--Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life” (). This observation suggests an American identity that is determined by birthplace, and that within the American identity there are smaller, inescapable points of identification.