The American dream stands as a symbol for hope, prosperity, and happiness. But F. Scott Fitzgerald 's The Great Gatsby, examines the American dream from a different perspective, one that sheds light on those who contort these principles to their own selfish fantasies. Fitzgerald renders Jay Gatsby as a man who takes the Dream too far, and becomes unable to distinguish his false life of riches from reality. This 'unique ' American novel describes how humanity 's insatiable desires for wealth and power subvert the idyllic principles of the American vision. Jay Gatsby is the personification of limitless wealth and prestige, a shining beacon for the aspiring rich.
The view of the American Dream is different for everyone. The Epic Journey, by James Truslow Adams, views the American Dream as a dream of attaining one’s fullest stature regardless of one’s social status. Similarly, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby, Gatsby’s American Dream relates to Adam’s dream but limited to materialistic wealth- a dream that seeks for motor cars, higher wages, and to impress the people of high status. Both Adams and Gatsby believe that everyone has an equal chance of achieving their dream. Adams says “The dream is that dream of land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”.
The Great Gatsby, written in 1924 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, in my opinion, focused on the American Dream and the problems with that vision. In contrast to all the other themes of the book, it seemed to be rather uplifting on the surface but when you look into the details it can paint a pretty disgusting picture of the American Dream in the 1920’s chiefly and the American Dream for all Americans throughout time in general. In the following, I will be discussing the American Dream in a whole over the course of the entire novel, using a specific quotation, and focusing on Gatsby. As we focus on the American Dream in the Great Gatsby, we must look in general across the entire book. We really first start to see foreshadowing to this theme in the second Chapter with George Wilson and Myrtle Wilson, one making a living as a mechanic/gas station operator, the other making money by being in an affair with Tom respectively.
The American dream states that any individual can achieve success regardless of family history, race, and/or religion simply by working hard. The 1920’s were a time of corruption and demise of moral values in society. The first World War had passed, and people were reveling in the materialism that came at the end of it, such as advanced technology and innovative inventions. The novel The Great Gatsby exploits the theme of the American Dream as it takes place in a corrupt period in history. Although the American Dream seemed more attainable than ever in the 1920’s, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby demonstrates how materialism and the demise of moral values in society leads to the corruption and impossibility of the American Dream.
Gatsby has spent his whole life trying to prove to Daisy and everyone around him that he is worthy of her. The only way to be on the same social level as her is to turn himself into new money. Since this is not possible, he has to try to convince to others that he truly is old money. To do this, he becomes rich, and lies about his past, but the only way for him to complete this idea is if he is with Daisy. She is the final piece in his American dream.
The American Dream suggests that every American citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work. One of the major ways that Fitzgerald portrays this is by alluding to outside events or works of literature specifically from that time period. Another major relationship that develops in The Great Gatsby is between Tom and Daisy. F. Scott Fitzgerald alludes to things such as the World’s Fair and “The Love Nest” to display the eventual dismantling of Tom and Daisy’s relationship. Both of these separate plots consolidate under the idea of Gatsby trying to become the epitome of the American Dream, as seen through his strive for a “perfect life.”
Throughout ‘The Great Gatsby’ Fitzgerald presents the idea that the wealthy people are spilt into two distinct groups. The first group are the characters born into wealth, for example; Tom and Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker. These are the characters that come from generations of wealth and have the ‘easy life’. They do not work, nor have to worry about anything other than themselves. They have security and ‘peers’ whom share the same taste as them.
The characters in the novel pretend that they have their lives all figured out, but through their successes their downfalls and emptiness can be seen, to prove that money cannot buy happiness. Jay Gatsby is the newest and upcoming star in New York during the 1920’s. Through his business and inheritance he is one of the richest men of his time. One may think that his abundance of wealth would lead him to be eternally happy, but he is the opposite. Gatsby longs for his love of Daisy, which is his personal American Dream.
Fitzgerald focused on the shift in the American Dream - from being the idea of self-fulfillment, dignity and comfort that is achieved through hard work, to being equated with the pursuit of wealth and power, and identifying happiness with having money. The novel depicts the rise and fall of the concept and describes the causes of its decay. The downfall of the American Dream is most accurately shown through the main protagonist of the story – Jay Gatsby. To reiterate, the American Dream is the concept that anyone can achieve a better life and become self-fulfilled, if they put enough effort to it and make the most of their abilities.
The Great Gatsby Greed can ruin a person’s life. F. Scott Fitzgerald shows this in his classic novel, The Great Gatsby, a sad love story about the rich title character, Jay Gatsby, and his obsession to win back the love of the now married Daisy Buchanan, his former girlfriend. The extravagant lifestyles of Gatsby and the wealthy socialites who attend his parties lead to lost dreams and wasted lives. These men and women are absorbed by material pursuits. In Jay Gatsby’s case, all the money in the world could not replace what he truly desires, Daisy.
As American business man, Richard M. Devos, once said, “Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none.” In the novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott, Fitzgerald, Daisy, an elite socialite, is blinded by dollar signs and makes multiple decisions based on class, ultimately leading to the destruction of those who she claims to love, and without a doubt love and idolize her. Jay Gatsby has been in love with Daisy for five years, and supposedly she is with him, but she’s too impatient to wait for Gatsby while he is at war and decides to marry an arrogant, racist, and rude former college football star, Tom Buchanan, for money. Daisy is a self-absorbed, vacuous socialite whose decisions lead to the destruction of Gatsby.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald 's The Great Gatsby, as Jay Gatsby delves into his pursuit of wealth and need for materialism, his hopes and aspirations become shattered in a world of unobtainable and unreachable possibilities. While Jay Gatsby confidently believes that material excess will ultimately bring about love, admiration, and prosperity, the audience understands that the possession of material objects does not always lead to the possession of these intangible virtues. The richest and happiest man is the one who sets the joy and happiness of others in the center of his wealth. As Jay Gatsby dedicates himself to winning over Daisy Buchanan and falls in love with her aura of luxury, Gatsby becomes overwhelmed with an unremitting desire for money and pleasure that eventually triggers his downfall. He has one purpose in life: to attract Daisy with his ornate house on West Egg and with his overflowing sum of money.
In the novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald characterizes the 1920s as an era of decayed social and moral values. One of the major themes explored in this novel is the Hollowness of the Upper Class. The entire book revolves around money including power and little love. Coincidentally the three main characters of the novel belong to the upper class and throughout the novel Fitzgerald shows how this characters have become corrupted and have lost their morality due to excess money and success and this has led them to change their perspective towards other people and they have been portrayed as short-sighted to what is important in life. First of all, we have the main character of this novel, Gatsby who won’t stop at nothing to become rich overnight in illegal dealings with mobsters such as Wolfsheim in order to conquer Daisy’s heart.”
“The Great Gatsby”, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, portrays a world filled with rich bombastic societal gatherings, corruption, and love affairs. The most significant theme present throughout the novel is the American dream and the corruption of the American Dream. The American Dream is that an individual with unfaltered determination combined with strict devotion to one’s goals has a fair chance of achieving wealth, and the freedom and happiness that go along with it. The dream is represented by the ideas of a self-sufficient individual, who works hard to achieve a goal to become successful. The novel is set in 1920’s, and it depicts the American Dream and its demise through the use of its characters and symbols
Seth Harvey Ms. Maggert English Honors III 7 April 2017 The Death and Resurrection of the American Dream In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald quietly critiques the American Dream and the way it has been besmirched through the use of strong symbolism and the story of Jay Gatz. In the novel, Gatsby symbolizes the American Dream, coming from rags to riches. The 1920s is where the American Dream began to change.