It is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.

from F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (Chapter I) on Rap Genius

Meaning

The Wake of the American Dream
Gatsby successfully achieved the American Dream, climbing up the ladder to the very top of the world.

However, the dream comes with a price: a “foul dust” that follows you around everywhere you go. The higher you climb the more “foul dust” there will be, and Gatsby managed to climb pretty high.

Nick states that this “foul dust” that preyed on Gatsby ended up making him feel somewhat depressed about everything, so right off the bat we know that even achieving the American Dream doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness.

To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “The Great Gatsby (Chapter I)” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and leave a comment on the lyrics box