The American Dream: The Great Gatsby

Superior Essays
American Dream: The Great Gatsby
In the novel, The Great Gatsby, F. S. Fitzgerald writes about a time period in American history where achieving anything was possible, at least that was the common belief. Not only does he describe the economic, social, and historical circumstances that drive his characters, but also a glimpse into the minds of the characters that they use as a way to justify their actions and motives. The most basic reason for the actions that take place in the course of the book is towards an idea that many people are familiar with. It’s the American Dream. In The Great Gatsby this dream is unattainable due to the indecent actions of the characters in the novel. The Great Gatsby represents the corrupted American Dream
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Throughout time, the American Dream has never been able to be fully defined. For some, it is striving for wealth and success, while some might say that it’s the ultimate happiness in life. For many of the characters in the novel, it means the amount of wealth they are able to acquire by any means. For example, Myrtle, Tom’s mistress, is one of the characters that did whatever it took to achieve her definition of the American Dream which is to be apart of the upper class. Fitzgerald write, “with the influence of the dress her whole personality had also undergone a change. The intense vitality... was converted into impressive hauteur”(pg. 35). This quote illustrates the idea that some of these characters will change themselves in order to achieve some form of the American Dream, whether it be permanent or temporary. Her constant changing of clothes shows her …show more content…
These characters did anything and everything to reach where they are now. Achieving the American Dream means starting from the bottom and becoming as successful as possible. Jay Gatsby in particular is one of the only characters that worked to get where he is at. However, the ironic thing is that he achieved it all through immoral means. For example, in chapter seven of The Great Gatsby, Tom confronts Gatsby about his riches. Tom said, “He (Gatsby) and this Wolfsheim bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong” (pg. 143). Since Gatsby didn’t earn his wealth in the most honorable ways, he is seen as a fraud. He only achieved part of the American Dream (money), the other part has more to do with acceptance than anything else. The downfall of the American Dream in Gatsby’s life is due to his own moral decline throughout the novel. He criticized Daisy and Tom Buchanan by saying “ they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together” (pg. 191). Yet in the end he became like the people he was shaming. He became a fake member of a society that didn’t accept him and in the effort to gain back Daisy’s affection, he in return becomes

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