The Pursuit Of Happiness In The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Democracy, freedom and equal opportunity have long been the ideologies associated with the American mindset, and as a result, the United States came to be recognized as one of the few countries in the world where anyone who worked hard enough could become successful and therefore fulfill the American Dream. However, through The Great Gatsby, author F. Scott Fitzgerald confronts this sanguine mentality. That which defines success in the 1920s, the time during which Fitzgerald’s novel is set, is no longer the “pursuit of happiness” that the Founding Fathers had established in the Declaration of Independence, but instead, the acquisition of a maximized amount of wealth and material possessions. Yet, such monetary success does not imply satisfaction, …show more content…
This woman, for whom Gatsby so desperately longs, loves not for love itself, but for monetary security: to take an example, Daisy behaves notably emotionally upon seeing a collection of shirts Gatsby owns during a visit to Gatsby’s mansion, “‘They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before’” (92). Gatsby knows he can only win back the affection of Daisy by proving to her that he is richer than Tom. He correctly discerns Daisy’s immense adoration of physical objects—she goes so far as to cry into a mound of Gatsby’s shirts, yet she barely shows any grief for his death. Gatsby, on the other hand, takes his love for Daisy unnecessarily far: although Gatsby had sought to become wealthy before meeting Daisy, their acquaintance, out of all to be considered, drives Gatsby the most to attain richness. Although Gatsby’s wealth successfully appeals to Daisy, he exhibits distressing difficulty in winning back her love. In a scene at the Buchanan residence that took place after the heated argument in Chapter 7, Fitzgerald illustrates, “[Daisy and Tom] weren’t happy, and neither of them had touched the chicken or the ale—and yet they weren’t unhappy either. There was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy about the picture, and anybody would have said that they were conspiring together” (145). Daisy’s decision reasonably follows from her characterization. She ultimately makes the choice of remaining with Tom rather than Gatsby, and the reader can realize the justification for her decision when her desires are taken into account. Tom, who lives in East Egg, has wealth embedded in his family name, whereas Gatsby comes from humble roots. Thus, Tom provides much more financial security for Daisy than Gatsby, and by staying with Tom, Daisy has a lower risk of losing

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