The Great Gatsby Corruption Essay

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The Corruption of the American Dream
The American Dream represents the outcome of American ideals, where everyone has the freedom and opportunity to achieve their goals. During the 1920s, when The Great Gatsby was written, the American Dream appeared at its highest, with entrepreneurs creating massive fortunes for themselves. However, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s eyes, the American Dream became corrupted and destroyed during a time of great prosperity but also of great indulgence. Fitzgerald employs symbolism, motifs, and character development to define the American Dream in terms of his novel, The Great Gatsby, while also condemning its bastardization during the Roaring Twenties and depicting its demise.
Through Gatsby, Fitzgerald both defines
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Gatsby, when initially courting Daisy, transforms her into an image representative of wealth and extravagance, which truly loves and aspires to. When describing a significant kiss between them, Nick claims Gatsby “knew that when he kissed this girl [Daisy], and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God” (110). By kissing Daisy, he surrenders his dreams to accept reality, as his mind will never again “romp” like “God[’s].” He loses his incredible ability to dream and embraces reality with Daisy. However, by kissing her, he also “weds” his dreams, his “visions” to her. The kiss serves the moment when Gatsby fully imprints his American Dream onto Daisy, making her his ultimate goal. Gatsby’s description of Daisy and her life when they first meet reinforces the connection between Daisy and Gatsby’s American. Daisy’s “beautiful house” and how “it was as casual a thing to her as his tent at camp was to him” strikes Gatsby (148). He was also “overwhelmingly aware of the youth and mystery that wealth imprisons and preserves, of the freshness of many clothes, and of Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor” (150). Daisy’s constant associations with items representing wealth, such as a beautiful house, clothes, and even her entire way of life “above the hot struggles …show more content…
At the end of the novel, the reader’s final thoughts on the characters demonstrate a deeper message. The reader grows to despise Daisy and Tom for their collective carelessness and irresponsibility, simply ignoring any problems they create and hiding from consequences behind their wealth. On the other hand, the reader sympathizes with Gatsby, whom they regard highly despite his immoral means to attain wealth, and even mourns his death. Tom and Daisy represent the old rich who inherited their wealth and while they seem to symbolize the American Dream on the surface, they never worked for it or earned it in any sense. Gatsby, however, actually worked his way into wealth, albeit through less than moral means; he actually worked for his American Dream. By ensuring the reader thinks highly of Gatsby and very poorly of Tom and Daisy, Fitzgerald conveys a message of support and approval of the ideals and ethics behind the American Dream: that hard work will get you everything you want. The conscious decision the author made in manipulating the reader in Gatsby’s favor enhances the argument for Fitzgerald’s approval, as he could have easily depicted Gatsby as a ruthless criminal, something implied throughout the novel, but never expanded on. Fitzgerald chooses to make Gatsby the protagonist of the novel to fully convey that he still supports the ideals behind the American Dream

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