Jay Gatsby Flaws

1995 Words 8 Pages
One of the greatest classic American novels of all time is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, published in 1925. The story is narrated by Nick Carraway and follows the summer he lived next door to a mysterious man who was known for throwing lavish parties. That man went by the name of Jay Gatsby. Gatsby was a man in love with a young woman he had known prior to his deployment to Europe during World War I. Daisy Buchanan was the woman whose love he longed for. The Great Gatsby explores the idea of the American Dream and the harsh reality of living it through the experiences of the idealistic, romantic, and flawed character of Jay Gatsby. Jay Gatsby was both idealistic and romantic. Throughout the novel, Gatsby held tightly to the idea …show more content…
By definition, the American Dream is made up of “the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American,” (dictionary.com) and can include “a life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the United States,” (dictionary.com). Jeffrey Louis Decker tackles the dream in his essay, stating: “Gatsby 's upward struggle is inspired by traditional purveyors of middle-class success, such as Ben Franklin and Horatio Alger Jr.,” (“Gatsby’s Pristine Dream: The Diminishment of the Self-Made Man in the Tribal Twenties). As Decker points out, Gatsby certainly achieved the American Dream in going from a penniless war hero with no inheritance to a man with riches beyond his wildest dreams. His rags to riches story is of the sort that the American Dream was originally built on, but for Gatsby it was not enough. The only person who could make all of his earnings and everything he’d worked for seem as fulfilling as it should have been was Daisy. It is clear that Daisy is Gatsby’s personal American Dream. When they meet again in chapter 5, it even seems that his dream is within reach. In many ways, Gatsby is a human representation of the American Dream. In her essay “The Great Gatsby and the Obscene Word,” Barbara Will states “…Gatsby’s fate takes on mythic dimensions, becoming an allegory for the course of the American nation and for the struggles and …show more content…
This particular description matches the character of Gatsby perfectly, but the essay goes on to suggest that Fitzgerald himself believed the dream was a phony idea. There are the obvious signs of inequality—which contradicts the dream--throughout the novel. Despite the money that Gatsby has earned, Tom views him as and inferior individual. The way he earned his money is often questioned. Part of the reason that so many rumors about Gatsby are born is because he is of new money. Those of old money are suspicious of new money regardless of its origin. They believe that their wealth should not be matched and that economic inequality should be maintained. In addition to inequality, there are several accounts of selfishness and dishonesty throughout Fitzgerald’s work. The American Dream promotes unity within communities, but the aforementioned characteristics are incredibly divisive. Tom and Daisy’s infidelity, for example, is what truly leads to Gatsby’s death. Daisy’s decision to accept Gatsby as her lover once more gets him into the tangled web of lies leading to Myrtle’s death. Myrtle’s death leads to Tom’s blame game, which leads to George shooting Gatsby. These qualities, among others, are representative of Fitzgerald’s criticism of American society as

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