Materialism In The Great Gatsby Essay

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American Dream in the context of The Great Gatsby

Undecided Sun Seo Jeon 20140880

The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, which proposes that opportunity is given to everyone according to their ability or achievement regardless of their social class, and that anything, such as rising from rags to riches, is possible with enough hard work and tenacity. This interplay between idealism and materialism is at once contradictory and complementary, because idealistic dream usually has a substantial material base. The concept of this dream is ideal since it suggests hope, opportunity and equality, but the realization and the ultimate goal, which is usually rising up the social ladder or becoming rich, is material.
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He believes that Gatsby’s American Dream was ultimately corrupt, since both the means and the goal was corrupt: even though Gatsby’s motivation, love, may be said to be pure, his obsession toward this dream caused his means to be corrupt, and even his goal, Daisy, who is a symbol of materialism, was corrupt. “The object of Gatsby’s obsession [was] unworthy of herculean efforts made on her behalf” (Foster 143). Nick saw that Gatsby’s unconditional, inordinate faith in this dream gnawed on him and inhibited him from thinking clearly; while money can be accumulated, social nuance, taste, and aristocracy cannot be obtained, and thus he could never be accepted into Daisy’s circle of society. Nick also compared Gatsby to the Dutch sailors who first arrived at America, whose eyes beheld the “fresh, green breast of the new world” (Ch. 9). “The pioneer vision of America, and Gatsby’s vision of Daisy” (Lehan 123) seem to parallel each other, both of which lack the moral center. In both cases, the “romantic possibility gives way to a corrupt reality” (Lehan 123). Just like Gatsby’s desire for Daisy led him to corrupt means of earning money such as through illegal bootlegging, for the Dutch sailors, “the green breast of the new world – the uncorrupted frontier, [gave] way to the valley of ashes” (Lehan

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