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Essay For Great Gatsby American Dream

(A major theme in The Great Gatsby is the pursuit of what can be termed the American dream. Do you agree? By choosing a major character or a situation in Fitzgerald’s novel, discuss how or whether Fitzgerald is successful in exposing the underside of the American dream)

This represents the idea of the American Dream, where qualities of hard work and ambition are shown. The novel The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald embodies many themes; however the most significant one relates to the corruption of the American dream. The American Dream is defined as someone starting low on the economic or social level, and working hard towards prosperity and or wealth and fame. By having money, a car, a big house, nice clothes and a happy family symbolizes the American dream. This dream also represents that people, no matter who he or she is, can become successful in life by his or her own work. The desire to strive for what one wants can be accomplished if they work hard enough. The dream is represented by the ideas of a self-sufficient man or woman, who works hard to achieve a goal to become successful. The Great Gatsby is a novel that shows what happened to the American Dream in the 1920’s, which is a time period when the dreams became corrupted for many reasons. The American dream not only causes corruption but has caused destruction. Myrtle, Gatsby and Daisy have all been corrupted and destroyed by the dream.

The desire for a luxurious life is what lures Myrtle into having an affair with Tom. This decision harms her marriage with George, which leads to her death and loss of true happiness. Myrtle has the hope and desire for a perfect, wealthy and famous type life.  She enjoys reading gossip magazines which represent her hope for the life of “the rich and famous”. This shows how the one reason she wants to be with Tom, is because he represents the life of “the rich and famous”. When Myrtle first got married to George Wilson, she thought that she was crazy about him and thought that they were happy being together. Myrtle says, “The only crazy I was was when I married him. I knew right away I made a mistake. He borrowed somebody’s best suit to get married in, and never told me about it, and the man came after it one say when he was out…” (Fitzgerald, 37) This shows how materialistic Myrtle is, and that she didn’t appreciate how George couldn’t afford his own suit to get married in. She looks at Tom in a different way. She looks at him as someone who can afford to buy their own suit for their own wedding. Myrtle is attracted to not only Tom’s appearance but his money as well. She believes that Tom is the ideal picture perfect man that represents the advertisement of the American Dream. Myrtle is considered to be lower class, as she doesn’t have a lot of money. Myrtle sleeps with Tom to inch her way to an upper class status. People who are upper class are the ones that have money, drive fancy cars, and have nice, big houses. Myrtle isn’t one of those people, but desires to be one of them. This later on causes destruction, and destroys Myrtle. It was later found that Daisy was the one that hit Myrtle with her car which resulted in the death of Myrtle. It is ironic that Daisy was the one that killed her, since Myrtle was having an affair with her husband, Tom. This shows how the desire for a luxurious life and having the American dream, only caused destruction in this novel and destroyed someone life.

The hope for happiness is something that Daisy hoped to have, but by finding out she married the wrong man changed who she is and her over outlook on life. Early on in the novel, Daisy finds out a secret that Tom is hiding from her. Jordan says, “She might have the decency not to telephone him a dinner time. Don’t you think?” (Fitzgerald, 20) Tom got a call from some women at dinner time, and Jordan claims that the women is Tom’s, suggesting that he is sleeping with someone else. You learn throughout the novel that Tom and Daisy relationship is not to most ideal, happy relationship. Tom seems to be abusive towards her, and rather does not seem to care much about her. Daisy thinks she has everything, wealth, love and happiness which all tie into the American dream, but then she discovers that she has nothing and that she has been corrupted by this specific dream. She thought she has all she desired for but truly realized she had nothing. She has a child, who does not seem important to her at all. The child is never around, which shows a lot about Daisy. When her child was born, Daisy said “I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful fool.” (Fitzgerald, 22) Daisy basically explained that there are limited possibilities for women, and she would have rather had a boy. The baby has to be a beautiful fool in order to be happy and successful. Woman back in the 1920’s all married for money, and not necessarily love. Daisy thought she had love when she married Tom, but truly in the long run, only came out with money. With Gatsby, Daisy realized something that broke her heart. When reunited with Gatsby, who she has not seen in about five years Daisy breaks down and starts to cry. “They’re such beautiful shirts, it makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts before.” (Fitzgerald, 89) At this time Daisy realizes that she did marry for money and not for love. She figures out that she could have married for money with Gatsby but would have had love too. The chase for the American dream and the ideal man to be with destroyed Daisy’s happiness.

The ambition for something has thrown Gatsby over the edge. His love and chase for Daisy has taken over his whole life. He feels that he has to live up to the American dream to accomplish what he truly dreams for, which is Daisy. While Gatsby was away fighting in the war, Daisy met Tom and married him. Daisy had always been rich and Gatsby thought that in order to get Daisy back, he needs to have money so that he would be able to give Daisy anything she wanted. There was a green light where Daisy lived that Gatsby would always look out to.

The green light is of great significance in this novel. It becomes evident that this green light is not Daisy, but a symbol representing Gatsby’s dream of having Daisy. The fact that Daisy falls short of Gatsby’s expectations is obvious. Knowing this, one can see that no matter how hard Gatsby tries to live his fantasy, he will never be able to achieve it. Through close examination of the green light, one may learn that the force that empowers Gatsby to follow his lifelong aspiration is that of the American Dream. Fitzgerald uses the green light as a symbol of hope, money, and jealousy.  Gatsby looks up to the American dream and follows it so he can be the picture perfect man that every girl desires. Gatsby cares a lot about how people see him, and his appearance towards others. He wants everything to look perfect for Daisy, as he wants Daisy to view him as a perfect man. “We both looked down at the grass – there was a sharp line where my ragged lawn ended and the darker, well-kept expanse of his began. I suspected he meant my grass.” (Fitzgerald, 80) This presents the theme of appearance vs. reality and how Gatsby wants everything to look nice and presentable for when he meets up with Daisy for the first time in five years. Gatsby becomes corrupted because his main goal is to have Daisy. He needs to have an enormous mansion so he could feel confident enough to try and get Daisy. Gatsby was blinded by the American dream and as a result of this, cause destruction of Gatsby himself. He didn’t end up getting what he wanted because the American dream took over who he truly was.

The American dream is a powerful dream that was significant in the novel The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald. It was evident that this dream only truly caused corruption and destruction. The desire for something sometimes causes people to be someone they are not and this usually does not result in a positive outcome. The American Dream is defined as someone starting low on the economic or social level, and working hard towards prosperity and or wealth and fame. Most characters in the novel The Great Gatsby all wanted money, wealth and happiness and would do anything in their power to get this. The Great Gatsby is a novel that shows what happened to the American Dream in the 1920’s, which is a time period when the dreams became corrupted. The American dream not only causes corruption but has caused destruction. Myrtle, Gatsby and Daisy have all been corrupted and destroyed by the dream and it was clear to be true. Money cannot buy you happiness which is something that the three characters in the novel The Great Gatsby truly did not realize.

The Great Gatsby Essay, Failure of the American Dream

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The novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is about the American Dream, an idealistic and illusionary goal to achieve wealth and status. The ruthless pursuit of wealth leads to the corruption of human nature and moral values. Fitzgerald uses characters in the novel to show the corruptions and the illusionary nature of the American Dream. The superficial achievement of the American Dreams give no fulfillment, no real joy and peace; but instead, creates lots of problems for the characters in the novel.

What happens to Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, and Daisy Buchanan represent the failure of the American Dream. Each character has a different dream. For Jay Gatsby, his dream is to attain happiness, represented by Daisy’s love, through materialism and power. For Nick Carraway, his goal is to find someone whose achievement in life could prove that the American Dream is not an illusion. For Daisy Buchanan, her dream is to reach a higher standard of living and to become very rich even though she has to pay the price of betraying her own heart and her loyalty to Gatsby’s unconditional love.

The possession of money’ and power’, no doubt, can provide material and pride satisfaction in life; but it cannot fulfill the real needs of the human heart, which is true love and genuine happiness. In order to fulfill their American Dreams, the characters in the novel have actually given up the moral values and beliefs that were once precious to them, and the result is that they reap only emptiness in their heart and soul. The main theme in the Great Gatsby focuses on the corruption of the American Dream.

The basic quality of the American Dream described in the novel is the hope for something, and the consistent determination to reach your idealistic goal. For Jay Gatsby, his dream is to win back the love of Daisy, the perfect woman of his dream. He sacrifices his integrity in order to get rich by involving in illegal business. Gatsby thinks that he can recreate the past, which is the relationship between himself and Daisy, with money. He thinks that he can impress Daisy with his wealth so that she will love him once again.

Gatsby’s strategies of winning back Daisy’s heart are to show off his wealth and social status such as connecting himself with “Oxford”; living in a luxurious “mansion”(Pg 5), throwing lavish parties, dressed in nice expensive clothing; he even has “men in England who buy him clothes and sends him a selection”(Pg 92). Gatsby believes that with his money and material success he could buy anything in life including true love and happiness. Because of his obsession to obtain Daisy’s love, he betrays his honesty and morality.

With no other purposes in life, Gatsby ends up engaging in illegal activities. Therefore, it is very ironical that sometimes in life, good idealistic goal, somehow, is achieved by immoral and illegal means. This is the reason for the failure of the American Dream, and the tragedy of Gatsby. Daisy is a vain lady. She marries Tom for money and status, and turns her back on true love and happiness, which is represented by Gatsby. Her American Dream is to enjoy a luxurious and comfortable life given to her by, hopefully a man who truly loves her, and whom she also loves.

The corruption of her human values begins when she decides not to wait anymore for Gatsby, her real love, but to take the opportunity that Tom Buchanan offers, which are money and status. Her choices reveal her vain and superficial nature hidden beneath her beautiful and innocent look. When Gatsby returns with wealth and status in order to win her love back, she has struggles within her heart about whether she should follow her true feelings or not. However, when Tom told Daisy about Gatsby’s “bootlegging,” with the intention of destroying her desire to leave him for Gatsby; her will, which is very weak, wavers.

She is a person without any strong desires or conviction or loyalty to anybody, including her true love Gatsby; Tom, her husband; and her own baby girl. Even when she knows that Tom has a mistress outside, yet she finally decides to choose him over Gatsby, who is really devoted to her and is offering her true love. She chooses to forsake Gatsby for a life of comfort and security, but full of emptiness. Her behavior in responding to the car accident in which she killed Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, again reveals her corrupted nature: ” Careless people? mashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was? and let other people clean up the mess they had made? ” (Pg 179)

When looking back at the foundation qualities of the American Dream in the Great Gatsby, which are hope, strength, and determination to reach a person’s idealistic goals in life. Daisy is a very good example of the failure and the corruption of the American Dream. The corruption and failure of the American Dream is seen through Nick Carraway, the narrator of the novel.

Nick’s dream is to find someone who can realizes the idealistic American Dream, and he finds this person in Jay Gatsby. Nick is the only character in the novel that stands aside as an observer and understands the truth about all people and all things. He admires Gatsby’s determination and strong will in achieving his goals in life, but despises all the rest of the people in the society in which he exists. In his eyes, Tom and Daisy and all the others are a bunch of heartless people who becomes successful at the cost of losing precious human values.

Gatsby is the only exception among them. In the novel, Nick comments “They’re a rotten crowd,” ” You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together. “(Pg 154) With the physical death of Gatsby, Nick’s hope for the realization of the American Dream is extinguished. He also has a feeling that Gatsby’s faith and hope in his dream is fading away and that Gatsby is beginning to doubt, feeling lost and empty: “I have an idea that Gatsby himself didn’t believe it would come, and perhaps he no longer cared.

If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air? ” (Pg 161) Gatsby’s dream dies, so is Nick’s. In conclusion, Fitzgerald uses this tragic story to express his feeling about the American Dream of the American people during the 1920’s.

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The characters in the novel are being used to reflect the gradual demoralization of the people in the society. Every person living in this world needs to have a dream and purpose to life, something to work towards. Without dreams, one’s life has no meaning, as seen in the destiny of Gatsby and the Buchanans. Their lives become empty and lost without a dream or an ideal. Gatsby is an important example of the failure of the American Dream, which is, in fact, an illusion after all.

Author: Wallace Hartsell

in The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby Essay, Failure of the American Dream

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