Criticism Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

1396 Words 6 Pages
The American Dream; the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. Unfortunately, back in the 1920’s this ideal remained but a mere dream for anyone trying to work their way up from rags to riches for the simple reason that it was practically impossible to become rich unless you were already born into it. In the novel “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald we get an up close and personal idea of what it was really like to be after the American Dream. However, instead of the typical dollar and a dream story Fitzgerald puts his own spin. For one, Fitzgerald criticizes the “American Dream” in every possible way throughout the entire book. He …show more content…
But overtime this ethical dream mutilated into a much more greedy and self centered one. The new version of the American Dream meant that the only thing that could determine success was materialistic possessions. Fitzgerald creates this corrupt setting by clearly showing readers the segregation of classes. For example he shows that the people occupying West Egg possess a decent amount of wealth but are yet to truly establish themselves in society. Whereas the occupants of East Egg come from older money that they have inherited through previous generations thus gaining them the right to more privilege, respect, and a high social standing. The main character, Jay Gatsby, resides in West Egg so in other words he is not considered to be a well established man of wealth. Because of this, Gatsby does everything in his power to gain attention and validation from the people of East Egg so he can achieve his American Dream. Unfortunately, Gatsby’s anguish to be accepted will never go away because he is trying to buy his way into a society that will always see him as inferior. Now many who have not read the Great Gatsby might ask; “Why does Gatsby want so desperately to be a part of East Egg is he is already wealthy?” Well the answer is quite simple, Gatsby’s main goal for attaining all of his wealth is for his old love; Daisy Fay. Gatsby first encountered Daisy in …show more content…
The main theme behind Fitzgerald’s literature is the demise of the American Dream. By examining his portrayal of the “elite society” it is very easy to perceive that the American Dream is no longer about hard work and dedication to reach success. Rather Fitzgerald argues that it has now become solely about manipulation to become materialistic and corrupt. For example, on the surface Jay Gatsby is perceived to be a successful man with a dashing personality, expensive clothes, and a luxurious mansion. But upon taking a look at how he attained all of those things he is the exact opposite of what the American Dream was originally about. The only reason for Gatsby’s wealth is his involvement in illegal bootlegging! All of his extravagant parties, expensive clothes, and his mansion are literally symbolic of his corruption. However, although there is no denying that Gatsby is corrupt, the most vile characteristics of the re-defined American Dream are seen in Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Since neither of them had to work for their money they know nothing of hard work and ethic. All of their riches were simply handed to them so they literally do not know how to appreciate it. As Nick said “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other

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