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Al Capone and The Great Gatsby Essay

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The notorious and capable Al Capone once commented, “This American system of ours, call it Americanism, call it capitalism, call it what you will, gives each and every one of us a great opportunity if we only seize it with both hands and make the most of it.” “This American system,” as referred to by Capone, is not simply one idea alone but a conglomerate of all ideals held to represent the American culture: capitalism, freedom, and opportunity. These ideals go hand in hand with each other; freedom allows for capitalism to flourish and, in turn, allows equal opportunity for every citizen. However, the key to success in the American system is not simply available by going through the motions of life, but rather requires determination, will, and an urge to succeed and capitalize on every opportunity provided to us. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, Gatsby, the poverty-stricken army officer turned eccentric millionaire, proves that the American system is one that does not discriminate between the rich and the poor, or by creed, or even by race, but allows for equal opportunity for all, supporting those with ambition and drive, while punishing those who lack purpose and initiative, one where everyone has a chance for greatness if they have the drive and initiative to seize that opportunity and “make the most of it” and that the resulting success derived from that motivation erases the significance of one’s background.
America is epitomized by the world to be the incarnation of “the land of opportunity.” As such, America is a magnet for all those ambitious enough to travel to a foreign country and start their lives anew. Al Capone, who was a first generation American, asserts that the American society allows anyone, re...


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... in the pool that he’s “… never used all summer”, despite the fact that he’s lived there for a considerable time (Fitzgerald 153). Gatsby’s desire to finally bathe in the pool depict the fact that he has been so absorbed by his one single dream that it has completely blotted out any other aspect of his life. Jay Gatsby could only “… live in a world with a single, consuming mission [in life]”, a world where that one dream is “…act[ed]… on by ‘a willingness of the heart’” (Callahan 2). Since his motivation was only for that one single dream, he only seized the moment and took his opportunities in order to fulfill that specific dream only and when it was taken away he was left with little purpose in life. Gatsby is killed because he is unable to live on without the one thing that has enveloped his entire adult life and gave meaning to everything he held dear, Daisy.



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