Is The American Dream Possible In The Great Gatsby

The “American Dream” is one of the defining principles on which the culture of the United States is founded. It is the idea that just being a U.S. citizen gives one the ability to work one’s way up from the bottom and end up being successful. This promise draws many people to work very hard to better themselves in an attempt to attain this success that they believe is theirs for the taking. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby does just that. Born into a poor farming family in the west, Gatsby gradually gains wealth and power (albeit through questionable means). However, even this does not fulfill Gatsby’s dream. Fitzgerald argues that the American Dream is not possible because Gatsby views Daisy as an incorruptible dream …show more content…
Even though Gatsby has placed his dream inside of her, she has no such dream in Gatsby. He is still somebody she loves, but nothing more. Daisy cannot fulfill all that Gatsby desires from her: “‘Oh, you want too much!’ she cried to Gatsby. ‘I love you now — isn’t that enough? I can’t help what’s past.’ She began to sob helplessly” (132). Gatsby has such huge expectations for Daisy, because she is his dream. But in actuality this is too much to ask of a person, because it is impossible for her to change what has already taken place. Nick describes Daisy and Tom as “careless people… they [smash] up things and creatures and then [retreat] back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it [is] that [keeps] them together” (179). Daisy carelessly destroyed Gatsby’s dream by rejecting him, but to her it was not even of great consequence, as she just ends up back with Tom, still “safe and proud” with her money and class. When Tom reveals all of the shady ways Gatsby has acquired his money, Daisy turns away from Gatsby because she no longer feels that he can provide her with the security she has had all of her life: “with every word she was drawing further and further into herself, so that he gave up, and only the dead dream fought on as the afternoon slipped away, trying to touch what was no longer tangible, struggling unhappily, undespairingly, toward that lost voice across the room” (134). Daisy does what is natural for her to do, turning to Tom who is secure is his class and wealth, and in doing so destroys Gatsby’s dream, and getting rid of all the purpose in Gatsby’s life because he has placed it all in Daisy. The last scene in this chapter describes Gatsby watching Daisy’s house because he is afraid that Tom will hurt her, but it is unnecessary because there is no more dream for Gatsby to protect anymore and

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