The American Nightmare In The Great Gatsby

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“The American Nightmare” Musician Bruce Springsteen once said, “I have spent my life judging the distance between American reality and the American dream”. This fine line of difference between the two seem to intertwine together as characters of the 1920’s novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald figure out that the foundation of the dream is built on deceit and disfigured by reality. The author teaches the reader that to dream, you must be smart and not fall to the darkness of human wants. Through the eyes of Nick Carraway we are able to view the story as an onlooker. Nick, the narrator, views other characters as they are---with no predispositions and judgement as his father had taught him, “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone...just…show more content…
The dysfunctional couple comprised of George and Myrtle Wilson is an example Fitzgerald uses to portray the grief and plight of the poor due to the disregard by the rich. They inhabit the Valley of Ashes, barely making enough money to support themselves. They lust after riches, specifically Myrtle, who seems to disregard her husband in favor of attempting to climb the social ladder by being with Tom, regardless of Daisy. She even proclaims, “I married him [George Wilson] because I thought he was a gentleman...I thought he knew something about breeding but he wasn’t fit to lick my shoe” (39). By Fitzgerald’s showcasing of Myrtle Wilson’s characterization, he gets the point across to the readers that social climbing and greed---chasing your version of the “American Dream”---can inundate any person with a need to be accepted by peers and…show more content…
While “The American Dream” to other characters to other characters is achieved by reaching the top of the social hierarchy and amassing wealth, Gatsby wishes for a person: Daisy. Along his journey to finally having Daisy within reach, he had gained the wealth that others consider to be their American Dream. One of the most prominent reasons as to why Gatsby cannot have Daisy is because he is seemingly stuck in the past. As the pair was being reunited for the first time in nearly 5 years, Gatsby knocks over the “defunct mantelpiece clock” (91). The clock was no longer working, which symbolizes how Gatsby is brooding over the past, and Daisy’s clock has moved onward. The concept of time for them is broken, and would never be repaired again. At the end of the novel, Nick creates an observation about the infamous green light: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us” (189). Gatsby’s dream of the green light at the end of the Buchanon’s dock was to reunite with Daisy and he expected her to drop her social status to go away with him. Despite potential love resurfacing, it wasn’t enough for Daisy. Ultimately, Gatsby’s dreams and plans never ended up working, showing us a glimpse that “The American Dream” can quickly take a turn for the
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