Examples Of Corruption In The Great Gatsby

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“Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.” These words, spoken by F. Scott Fitzgerald in his book, The Great Gatsby, are a testament to the power of the American Dream. For many Americans, the dream represents hope of a better life, and of achieving success and prosperity through hard work and determination. Fitzgerald's novel tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a man who rose from humble beginnings to become a wealthy and successful businessman. However he is never able to obtain the one goal he’s wanted, the love of Daisy Buchanon. In the final chapter of the novel, Nick reflects on Gatsby’s life and his pursuit of the American Dream, stating that “Gatsby believed in the green light, the organic future that year by year recedes before …show more content…

One example of this is Tom Buchanon, who embodies the worst aspects of the dream. As Nick observes, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy…they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together.” (Fitzgerald 179) Tom’s careless and selfish behavior reflects the moral decay that can result from the pursuit of wealth and status. The fact that he and Daisy, “smashed up things and creatures” and then retreated back into their wealth and carelessness shows how the Dream can lead to a lack of empathy and concern for others. Additionally, Tom’s racist and sexist attitudes demonstrate how the Dream can also lead to prejudice and discrimination, as he says, “It’s up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things.” (Fitzgerald 17) This quote shows how Tom’s sense of entitlement and superiority is based on his race and gender, and how he uses this to justify his mistreatment of others. This goes on to reveal how the American Dream can lead to a distorted sense of power and control over others. In addition to Tom’s character, the setting of The Great Gatsby also critiques the American Dream by highlighting the stark contrast between the wealthy and the …show more content…

This contrast is further reinforced by the Valley of Ashes, which lies between the wealthy areas of West Egg and East Egg, and symbolizes the waste and destruction that are inevitable consequences of the dream. As Nick observes, “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.” (Fitzgerald 35) Nick’s conflicted feelings toward the partygoers show how the dream can lead to a sense of disillusionment and dissatisfaction, even for those that seem to have it all. It also shows how Nick is drawn to and repulsed by the world of the wealthy, and how his perspective on the dream is complex. As Fitzgerald writes, “Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crepe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty, but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering.” (Fitzgerald 29) That quote explains how the character of Myrtle Wilson, who is having an affair with Tom, is driven by her desire for wealth and status, but ultimately suffers a tragic fate. Myrtle’s vitality is contrasted with her lack of beauty, which suggests that the dream can have a corrupting influence on people’s values and priorities. Another way in which The Great Gatsby critiques the American Dream is through its

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