The American Dream as Shown Through Jay Gatsby Essay

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Jay Gatsby becomes so enthralled in his American Dream and the immoral means that he would use to obtain it, however, that he could not see foreboding events around him. He acts in a manner of obliviousness when many of the people whom he associates with mock him, such as when and an unnamed woman in Gatsby’s house in Chapter VI gives an insincere invitation for Gatsby to come to dinner and, after Gatsby naively accepts the invitation, Tom ridicules him by asking Nick, “Doesn’t he know she doesn’t want him?”(Fitzgerald 103). Such an honest reaction, however, could only be expected from the man who went about his business of illicitly acquiring money differently than he did his personal life. Despite reservations of the narrator, readers are not straightforwardly exposed to the character of Gatsby that would correspond with the man who is involved with gamblers and criminals such as Meyer Wolfsheim. Instead of unequivocally portraying Gatsby as a man of shoddiness, the novel more strikingly depicts Gatsby as a decorous and innocent character; for example, he worries about whether Daisy still loves him, and seems genuinely indifferent to the falsehoods told about him. Thus it is that readers feel sympathy for the title character, even though they are aware that Gatsby almost certainly did not acquire his grandiose fortune through entirely respectable means. It is also a result of this contradiction of direct portrayal and indirect portrayal that Gatsby can be seen as a victim of the affluence and superficiality of upper-class American society during the 1920s. The “Platonic conception of himself” from which James Gatz sprung from his humble roots and with which he determined to act in “the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretriciou...

... middle of paper ... to the resolutions that he made for himself. The point at which Gatsby diverged from an otherwise honorable route to success, however, came when he decided that, in his desperate need to gain the kind of wealth that Daisy was accustomed to seeing in those who constituted her company, he would amass his fortune through criminal activities. Despite having devoted his childhood toward resolving to be a better, more organized, and more efficient person, Jay Gatsby’s American Dream led him to wrongly believe that somehow it was permissible for him to lower his standards of respectability and still be able to be the recipient of a status of humanity that traditionally was engendered on account of decent work or the benefits of an otherwise advantaged family.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner trade pbk. ed. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print.

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