Why Is The Great Gatsby The American Dream

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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…
Nick explains Gatsby’s background and how “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people — his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all” (98). Even from a young age, Gatsby believes that he is meant for something more. His reluctance to accept his parents as his own suggests that he believes his birth into a low class is a mistake and he is destined to live among the elite upper class of early 20th century society. Gatsby has “an instinct towards future glory” and he is determined to see it through to completion (99). The use of the word “instinct” suggests that this desire for greatness is not just a childhood fantasy, but a deep urge to embody the greatness that comes with wealth and power. When Nick discusses Gatsby with [Gatsby’s] father, he too could see that “he had a big future ahead of him” (172). Even when Gatsby is poor, it is easy for people to see how driven he is to complete his …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

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