The Great Gatsby: The Deception Of The American Dream

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Megan Fisher Labs AMST 1/11/16 The Deception of the American Dream “The Roaring 20s” was a time of incredible promise with Prohibition in full swing and the stock market booming. Thousands chased after the American Dream of getting rich quick or having every new product that was advertised, but it was merely “fool’s gold,” and the pursuit of wealth often resulted in debt and misfortune. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald criticizes the foolishness of those who chase the false promises of the American Dream and those who have corrupted the significance of that dream. The idea of the American Dream was first polluted by the rise of consumerism following the war. However, this consumerism could be devastating for those unable to afford…show more content…
Because of the catastrophic results brought on by Gatsby’s crusade to redesign the past, he can only lament that the American Dream is a foolish pursuit and that chasing dreams that “[recede] before us” (Fitzgerald 189) is a fruitless task. Fitzgerald uses a paradox to emphasize how many romantics live in a false reality; a reality where any goals can be achieved. While they are blinded by the facade of hope, they fail to realize that their dream is slowly but constantly moving farther away from them. This paradox gives the reader a look at the grim contradiction between dreams and reality. Fitzgerald believes the prosperity that is promised in America is an unattainable thing, and that chasing it will always be a losing battle. It has caused many to fall into poverty and debt yet these dreams are romanticized and celebrated. This leads to more effort pouring into worthless endeavors as people like Gatsby try to reach their “orgastic future” (189). “Orgastic” is a combination of the words ‘orgasmic’ and ‘orgiastic’, two words associated with immense pleasure. Fitzgerald combines the two, amplifying the effects of both words, creating an image of the optimistic dreams that many wish to reach. Fitzgerald brilliantly fabricates the word “orgastic” to parallel the ephemeral nature of the American Dream: a fake word for a fake reality. This emphasizes that the American Dream is too good to be true and a pipe dream for many. Finally, Fitzgerald’s sentence structure refuses to satisfy the reader’s expectations in the same way that those who follow the American Dream are always disappointed, despite their plans to “run faster, stretch out [their] arms farther. . . .and one fine morning--(189).” Fitzgerald cuts off his train of thought with a dash, a marking that usually indicates a continuation of a sentence or thought. While readers will expect to hear
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