The Impact Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

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Extravagant parties every weekend, drinking illegal alcohol, and exploring New York City in the afternoons with friends: this is the life Fitzgerald tells about in The Great Gatsby and experienced in his own life. The 1920’s were a time of prosperity and abundance in America, especially for the upper class in New York City. Fitzgerald was someone who went out every night and was living a dream in less privileged people’s mind. However, in Fitzgerald’s life, as well as those of the characters in The Great Gatsby, his lifestyle negatively affected his relationships and career. The goal presented as the American Dream, the ideal that every American has the equal opportunity to achieve success, is a main theme in The Great Gatsby; the novel shows …show more content…
The novel follows the themes of “the shallow pursuit of wealth and the tarnishing of the so-called ‘American Dream,’ and the stubborn persistence of hope” (Howes 92). The novel’s version of the American Dream represents “self-creation, money and loss” (Becnel). No achievement of the American Dream is possible without sacrifice and loss faced by the one striving for it. In The Great Gatsby, the characters show that in order to achieve their goals they must lie, cheat, or forfeit ethics (“Gatsby”). The Caraways, Nick’s ancestors, are an example of the success of an American Dream. Nick says that the Caraways tell people that they obtained their riches by their royal ancestors, but they actually inherited their fortunes from Nick’s great-uncle who differed from the Civil War and began a wholesale business that has been passed down to Nick’s father. Through Nick’s great-uncle’s hard work, and dedication to his business, he was able to provide not only for his immediate family but his descendants for generations. This is the ultimate goal behind the American Dream, being able to pay it forward for years to come. Since Nick’s family has already achieved the desired dream, but Nick is now trying to continue their success in his own life, he is a neutral character. His lack of reliance on the success of his …show more content…
They live in the most lavish world one could ever imagine. They want for nothing, and have more time and money than they no what to do with. Tom and Daisy are practically the definition of materialism and carelessness. In The Great Gatsby, Nick describes them, saying, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money of their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made” (Fitzgerald 179). Tom and Daisy used their money and materials as an escape and veil from the struggles they face, such as distrust within their marriage and isolation from society. Tom and Daisy are living in their own reality; the luxuries they have only benefit them, and are never used for good or improvement. They do not strive for the American Dream, or any other dream, because they have nothing left to achieve. Tom and Daisy can not rise in society any more; they are already at the top, but are still unhappy. Though the two are unsatisfied together they could never leave each other. The pair seems so different at their introduction, but through their self-serving behavior, it becomes clear how similar they are. Nothing the Buchanans have, they earned for themselves; Tom and Daisy are merely living off family money they

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