The Corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is about the corruption of the American Dream, and the downfall of those who attempt to attain its illusionary goals. As the novel shows, the 20th century is a moral wasteland and a corruption of the original idealistic American Dream of the past. Fitzgerald's moral wasteland is shown physically in the "valley of ashes" scene of the novel. This 'dismal' and 'desolate' wasteland exists side-by-side with the white and unreal dream of Daisy and her world. Even the colors of this landscape have correlations to Daisy: the "yellow" of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg's spectacles and the brick of the houses on the street is a
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Gatsby's dream is that through wealth and power, one can acquire happiness (Daisy). Throughout the novel we see that Gatsby cannot see that the past is over and done with and he therefor can have no chance with Daisy. He is sure that he can capture his dream with wealth and influence. Nick attempts to show Gatsby the folly of his dream and tell him that he cannot relive the past, but Gatsby confidently replies, "Yes you can, old sport." There are many connections between Gatsby's dream with the American Dream. A big part of both is the pursuit of material things and both have a touch (or more than a touch) of unreality about them. The American dream used to be self-betterment, wealth, and success through hard work and perseverance or "luck, pluck, and virtue", as Alger would put it. However, in the modern era, all that changed. The American Dream shrunk from self-betterment, wealth, and success through hard work and perseverance to 'success' through wealth by any means possible, just as Gatsby's dream, his Platonic conception of himself, shrunk into Daisy. The corruption of the American dream can be illustrated by how Gatsby came by his fortune. Through his dealings with organized crime, he didn't adhere to the original American Dream guidelines. His very dishonesty that allowed him to get the wealth and connections to be

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