Great Gatsby American Dream Analysis

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Francis Scott Fitzgerald lived the luxurious life of the roaring ‘20s; however, by the end, his life was controlled by drinking and his beloved wife had descended into insanity. Fitzgerald never quite fulfilled his American dream. Fitzgerald’s main character, Jay Gatsby, mimics the path of his own successes and failures. Although Fitzgerald clearly defines the American Dream as a lifestyle of luxury, love, and void of responsibility, the subliminal message of the novel is that perfection, such as the American dream, is unattainable; however, striving for the impossibility of perfection is imperative if one hopes to secure contentment in their life.
What is the American dream? Out of all of the characters in the novel, it would seem that Jay
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Jay Gatsby resides in a house, more accurately described as a mansion, that is “a colossal affair by any standard...spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden.” (Fitzgerald 5). His life of grandeur and his enormous estate are often composed of extravagant parties. “There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” (Fitzgerald 39). His party guests consist of those residing in the West Egg. Their fortunes are built upon new money. Unlike the sophisticated residents of the East Egg, the West Eggers prefer the wild, spontaneous lifestyle; however, this lack of responsibility is shared by both parties. Daisy Buchanan is an example of the irresponsibility that contaminates the whole upper class. “I called up Daisy half an hour after we found him, called her…show more content…
“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter-- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out farther… And one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” (Fitzgerald 182). The Great Gatsby isn’t the only example of literature and artistry that depicts the American dream as impossible. In the broadway musical Les Misérables, based on the novel of the same name, there is a song titled “I Dreamed a Dream” which states, “I had a dream my life would be... So different from this hell I 'm living. So different now from what it seemed. Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.” Thus, the impossibility of the American dream is emphatically restated throughout literature. Gatsby has a tough time understanding the truth of the American dream. “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward-- and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.” (Fitzgerald 21-22). This green light, though minute and far away, symbolizes Gatsby hopes and dreams. Although he lives the life mistakenly viewed as the American Dream, he yearns for more. This lack of contentment disproves any notions of Gatsby having
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