F. Scott Fitzgerald's The American Dream: A Dangerous Reality

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The American Dream: A Dangerous Reality
Approximately four hundred years ago, pilgrims from Europe crossed the Atlantic Ocean to settle in the New World. They traveled to escape religious persecution and find political liberty during a period of tyranny and suppression (Colonial America). Though not defined as such at the time, these settlers were pursuing the American Dream, an idea of equality and freedom for all. As years passed, however, the Dream transformed from a concept of opportunity to a guarantee for self-made success. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Myrtle Wilson, Dan Cody, and Jay Gatsby, all seemingly different characters, find themselves ruined by this once-glamorous idea, and destroyed by their dreams which held
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Though introduced in The Great Gatsby as having already died, Cody’s legacy and representation of the American Dream intertwine themselves throughout the novel. As opposed to the traditional Dream, which advocates that one can work his way up the economic ladder to success, Dan Cody is presented as immediately rich and successful. On the outside, Cody is the man who has officially achieved the American Dream. He earns millions mining silver and copper, has his choice of women, and spends his time sailing around the globe. However, the “softmindedness” (Fitzgerald 105) and susceptibility to drunkenness which Dan Cody possesses is an undermining fault that is contrary to the nature of the American Dream. In chapter six of The Great Gatsby, narrator Nick Carraway describes Cody as a drunk, and, inferably, a frequenter of parties. It could be reasoned that it was at one of these parties where the reporter Ella Kaye “came on board [Cody’s yacht] one night . . . and a week later Dan Cody inhospitably died” (Fitzgerald 106). Cody’s twisted version of the American Dream was undeniably fulfilled, and yet he wanted more. Instead of being content with his more-than-meager lifestyle, Cody decides imprudently to chase after the world. The Dream which first captures him grows until it demands no less than his life. Cody, like Myrtle Wilson, dies pursuing more than what he already has. …show more content…
He is born to poor farmers, works multiple jobs as a teenager, and finally emerges as a worldly and successful adult. Gatsby’s version of the American Dream is distorted, though. Instructed by a cunning mentor and brought up among thieves, Jay Gatsby achieves his wealth quickly and by less than legal means. The gathering of monetary success is merely a stepping stool to achieving Gatsby’s true desire, however, which is a relationship with Daisy Buchanan. Daisy, now a married woman, symbolizes a high society that Gatsby himself can never hope to penetrate. Unbeknownst to Gatsby, the very fact that Daisy is unattainable makes her desirable. She was born of money, has money, and will always have money. Gatsby recognizes this in chapter seven when he states that “[Daisy’s] voice is full of money” (Fitzgerald 127). This quote demonstrates the futility of Gatsby’s dream. Unlike Daisy, he will never ‘always have money’. Gatsby can never fit into Daisy’s moneyed world; therefore, he can never fulfill his American Dream. This point is further justified when Daisy kills Myrtle. Gatsby’s fantasy destroys another, and a dreamer cannot live without his dream. When Daisy dies to him and goes away, the same fate literally befalls Gatsby. In describing the funeral, Nick Carraway says that the “. . . minister glanced several times at his watch so I took him aside and asked him to wait for half an hour. But it wasn’t

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