Personification Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

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The American dream stands as a symbol for hope, prosperity, and happiness. But F. Scott Fitzgerald 's The Great Gatsby, examines the American dream from a different perspective, one that sheds light on those who contort these principles to their own selfish fantasies. Fitzgerald renders Jay Gatsby as a man who takes the Dream too far, and becomes unable to distinguish his false life of riches from reality. This 'unique ' American novel describes how humanity 's insatiable desires for wealth and power subvert the idyllic principles of the American vision. Jay Gatsby is the personification of limitless wealth and prestige, a shining beacon for the aspiring rich. Nick Carraway declares that there is "something glorious" about Gatsby, and that…show more content…
Instead of following the American dream of ‘pursuing happiness’ Gatsby focuses on using his assets to bring consummation to an otherwise empty life. This perversion of the American dream serves only to improve his 'image ' to a society that initially rejects him when he is impoverished. It is Gatsby 's belief that wealth makes him a "son of God," a deity that carries out his "Father 's business" through the "vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty" (89) of possessing material objects irrelevant to happiness. To get these earthly treasures, he exploits the “Land of Opportunity” and dabbles in illegal activities, a practice akin to modern corporate scandals. The true purpose of the American dream is lost upon Gatsby, as it makes "no sound" of warning upon his conscience, fading into an omen that becomes "uncommunicable forever" (100). Jay Gatsby 's indecent ascension as a king of society depicts America as a land of the affluent, instead of the land of the free. In this counterfeit America, Gatsby 's dream "must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it" (159). But since he "[does] not know that it [is] already behind him" (159), Gatsby continues to seek contentment in fattening his purse. Unable to see past his warped reality, he tries to procure any object that could possibly satisfy his desires. But unable to find happiness through his quest for wealth, Gatsby turns inward to the past, a time when opulence was but a dream, not a…show more content…
But even though it seems that Gatsby 's "number of enchanted objects [have been] reduced by one" (84) with the possibility of winning Daisy, he is foiled by her greater attraction to a secure life of luxury. Ironically, Gatsby is unable to comprehend that Daisy 's obsession with material possessions mirrors his own fixations with such objects. Though Gatsby is aware of the "youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves" (132), his inability to sacrifice his wealth and embrace simplicity breaks his spirit. Rich on earth, but poor at heart, Gatsby thus "[pays] the price for living too long with a single dream" (142), as he learns that his life is superficial and lacks meaning. But instead of attempting to reverse this misfortune, Gatsby takes it apathetically, wishing only to live this leisurely path. Gatsby wallows in his suffering, unable to see America as a land where he can be revitalized. Hereafter, he becomes a "a boat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past" (159). According to a classic nursery hymn, 'life is but a dream ', a fact that Gatsby silently

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