F. Scott Fitzgerald 's The Great Gatsby Essay

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The “American Dream” is one of the defining principles on which the culture of the United States is founded. It is the idea that just being a U.S. citizen gives one the ability to work one’s way up from the bottom and end up being successful. This promise draws many people to work very hard to better themselves in an attempt to attain this success that they believe is theirs for the taking. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby does just that. Born into a poor farming family in the west, Gatsby gradually gains wealth and power (albeit through questionable means). However, even this does not fulfill Gatsby’s dream. Fitzgerald argues that the American Dream is not possible because Gatsby views Daisy as an incorruptible dream while in actuality she is only human and can never be what he wants her to be. Gatsby’s childhood dream is to be “great” because he grows up being poor on a farm and has always felt like he was meant for something greater. Nick explains Gatsby’s background and how “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all” (98). Even from a young age, Gatsby believes that he is meant for something more. His reluctance to accept his parents as his own suggests that he believes his birth into a low class is a mistake and he is destined to live among the elite upper class of early 20th century society. Gatsby has “an instinct towards future glory” and he is determined…

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