Examples Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

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The American Dream is supposed to represent hard work and self-made independence. The ideal is blurred though when it becomes a selfish, endless pursuit of money, material, and pleasure. In modern society, success is measured by the accumulation and display of one’s wealth: the size of one’s house, the quality of one’s wardrobe, the luster of fine jewelry, or the model of one’s automobile. In the 1920’s, society mirrored today’s outlook on success. In Fitzgerald’s rendition of the American Dream, The Great Gatsby, he captures the ideal in both the cynical and the hopeful viewpoint through the characters of Nick Carraway and none other than Jay Gatsby himself. The narrator Nick Carraway arrives in New York at the beginning of the novel, moving …show more content…
Born James Gatz to a poverty-stricken family in rural North Dakota, he grew to despise poverty and strive for fortune and superiority. Upon changing his name to Jay Gatsby, he reinvented himself and began his rise to wealth through organized crime. He attempts to acquire all the glorious stereotypical possessions: the extravagant house, the fancy cars, the expensive clothes; however, his leading motivation for the elaborate show of his money is the charming Daisy Buchannan, who he fell in love with in his early years before his fortune was acquired. Gatsby is attracted to Daisy’s aristocratic air and luxurious grace. He lies about his past in order to persuade the “old money”, young girl that he is worthy enough for her affections. After a considerable amount of time spent apart from Gatsby, Daisy makes the decision to marry Tom Buchannan, and in turn Gatsby promises himself that he will woo Daisy back through lavish parties thrown weekly at his gaudy mansion and his money. In chapter 3, Nick observes a characteristic of Gatsby that exemplifies the title character’s optimism not only for himself, but for those around him, “He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it…It understood you…believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself.” Throughout the novel, however, Gatsby’s ability to make all his dreams come true slowly dwindle as his idealistic flawlessness of Daisy falls short of reality. At the end of the novel, we find Gatsby’s hopes and dreams shattered, leaving him heart-broken when Daisy chooses to remain with Tom for the money and the security. In Poor Richard’s Almanac, we find the saying, “Industry need not wish, and he that lives upon hope will die fasting. There are no gains without pains…” Gatsby experiences the pains of life to reach his goal; however, we find his primary purpose, the love of Daisy,

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