The Failure Of American Dream In The Great Gatsby

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As one of the most celebrated novels of the 20th century Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has attracted critical attention for candidly portraying “about America, American character and the American Dream” (Miller 252). Few critics have comprehensively examined the American Dream that permeates the text. The novel reflects some of the images of horror of modern life in America. The reader can gauge the deeper psychology discovering the universal malaise of ‘sickness’ and common darkness in the individual gloom personified for the generation of twenties. It suggests much about the sterility, aridity, vacuity of modern life. It depicts how sexual relationships have been diminished, devitalized, debased and life at its vital centre has dwindled into meaninglessness and banality.

The Great Gatsby must be interpreted as a meditation about the failure of American Dream. John Peale Bishop recognized Gatsby as “The emersonian man brought to completion and eventually to failure (115) Lionel Trilling, an influential critic on the literature of the twenties, insisted that “Gatsby, divided between power and dream, comes inevitably to stand for America itself” (251). Edwin Fussell in his essay “Fitzgerald’s Brave New World” interprets the novel based on the “connection between Gatsby’s individual tragedy and the tragedy of American civilization” (48). Gatsby pursues a dream which not only destroys his fantasies but a glamorous world he recreated by amassing wealth through boot
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