Immigration In The Great Gatsby

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F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is considered the typical American novel, known for its emphasis and twist on the American Dream. Some people, such as Jeffrey Decker, disagree with this view on the book. Decker insists in his article, “Corruption and Anti-Immigrant Sentiments Skew a Traditional American Tale”, that the loss of faith in the hope of social mobility and the idea of the self-made man in The Great Gatsby is a direct cause of the anti-immigrant attitudes due to the rising tide of immigration in the 1920s. I have mixed feelings about Decker’s argument. He blames the loss of trust in social advancement and the independent man on the rising tide of immigration in the 1920s. On one hand, I agree that the novel does have some…show more content…
The American Dream is a vision held by the working class of America: a dream in which one can achieve all that he desires through hard work and perseverance. The reader sees Gatsby as a self-made man: a man with everything you could possible want in life, a man who has achieved the American Dream to its fullest, and yet, this image is marred by his unhappiness. A barrier between the inherently wealthy and ‘new money’ blocks his ability to win back the girl he loves, placed there by by the embodiment of the upper class in America - Tom Buchanan. Tom never saw Gatsby as his equal because Gatsby was not born with money, calling him a “Mr. Nobody from Nowhere” (130). The working class sees this statement as an example of why the American Dream is not worth the effort. They can build themselves up from nothing in order to be acknowledged by by the world, but they will never be seen as equals in the upper class. This situation erodes the promise of the American Dream for the working class and diminishes their belief in the self-made man and social mobility. The Great Gatsby’s loss of faith in the self-made and social mobility is caused not by immigration but by Gatsby’s inability to transcend the barriers between social classes despite the achievement of the American Dream. Without the promise of social mobility through the American Dream, the working class loses faith in the idea of self-made man. The Great Gatsby proves that material success will not guarantee acceptance or happiness and calls into question the worth of the rewards of the American
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