The American Dream In Barack Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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At the Associated Press Annual Luncheon in April of 2008, when talking about the American people, soon-to-be President Barack Obama said, “We may come from different places and have different stories, but we share common hopes and one very American dream.” From this, stems the debate of “what is this american dream?” To, like Jay Gatsby, go from rags to riches? Or to live simply with no responsibilities, like Chris McCandless. Though neither character was able to successfully live out the American dream, Gatsby came the closest to living it because he was able to work his way up from nothing in order to become successful, live the life he always wanted, and almost getting the girl of his dreams. In The Great Gatsby, we follow the character…show more content…
Though both men's lives ended in tragic deaths, McCandless seemed at peace in his death. In describing a photo McCandless took of himself shortly before his death, Jon Krakauer say, “But if he pitied himself in those last difficult hours—because he was so young, because he was alone, because his body had betrayed him and his will let him down—it’s not apparent from the photograph. He is smiling in the picture, and there is no mistaking the look in his eyes: Chris McCandless was at peace, serene as a monk gone to God” (Krakauer 199). In order to be this content, there must have been something positive about the way McCandless had chosen to live his life. This being said, there were also some very negative aspects of his journey including being alone, starving and dying young. There was some regret that McCandless displayed by writing the words “HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED” (Krakauer 191). In stating this, McCandless is essentially admitting that he shouldn’t have attempted to live such a secluded life because it only led to superficial

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