Essay On American Dream In The Great Gatsby

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Intro + Thesis The modern American dream is a recurring ideal, one attainable through hard work and skill; however, this belief is challenged in The Great Gatsby, which questions if effort is truly the key to success when the illusion of the American dream overpowers the reality. No longer the phrase that helped form a nation, the road to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness has veered off course, paving way for a new, debased version to take its place, one that is highly criticized in the novel. Both Gatsby and Wilson were hard workers, and this, ideally, should have gotten them far, although conversely, they both paid a price, raising doubt if The Great Gatsby was actually a tribute to the American lifestyle after all. Para 1 - The…show more content…
Low-income and looked down on, Wilson is a window into what Gatsby’s life would have been had he not been presented a chance one day by Dan Cody, the man who introduced him to wealth. Just as skillful, Wilson is undervalued by the people in his life, repeatedly described as a man who has lost his colour, a “spiritless man. . . faintly handsome” (22), who “when he saw [Tom and Nick] a damp gleam of hope sprang into his light blue eyes” (22). For twelve years Wilson was married to Myrtle who must have been attracted to who he was, not who he is now, resigned to work. Describing him as “faintly handsome” (22) provides a clue to what had drawn Myrtle in, a young man who had once been handsome, hoping to get lucky, and still is as his eyes gleam at the sight of Tom who was baiting him with the offer of selling him a car, a chance to get lucky, like Gatsby. Although both Gatsby and Wilson are dedicated, only one achieved “success” in its current definition, this directly opposes the notion that wealth is attainable with hard-work, regardless of financial situations or background. Achievement through hard work is not the sought after American dream, it is simply untrue and relies heavily on other aspects besides one's
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