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Distortion of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby Essay

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In the past the American Dream was an inspiration to many, young and old. To live out the American Dream was what once was on the minds of many Americans. In The Great Gatsby, the American Dream was presented as a corrupted version of what used to be a pure and honest ideal way to live. The idea that the American Dream was about the wealth and the possessions one had been ingrained, somehow, into the minds of Americans during the 1920’s. As a result of the distortion of the American Dream, the characters of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby along with many others, lived life fully believing in the American Dream, becoming completely immersed in it and in the end suffered great tragedies.

Around the 1920’s many American's outlook on life began to change. The American Dream gave them something to fight for, “a chance to achieve fame, power, or fortune”(Daeleiden 11), a chance to climb above their previous generation in terms of the social ladder. Even though it was superficial, Gatsby's outlook on life was something that could be labeled as optimistic. However as optimistic as it was, Gatsby was ignorant to the truths hovering around him. Although Gatsby’s intentions were good many times he became confused in what he really wished for.

Gatsby believed that if he overcame the poverty of his early life and became someone new he would be able to capture the heart of his beloved Daisy, a woman whose materialistic outlook on life led Gatsby to extremities. Gatsby threw around large amounts of money as if it was nothing in an attempt to win over the heart of his beloved Daisy. He even threw incredibly lavish parties in hope that Daisy would attend one giving him t...


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...kest way possible. To have an easy life without having to make an effort and to obtain all the materialist possessions within your ability.

The difference between Fiztgerald's American dream and the Contemporary Dream is that one exemplifies the results rather then the process. Fitzgerald's American Dream is mostly portrayed as a miracle followed by a demise while the Contemporary Dream is more of a lack of effort in the achieving of a superficial American Dream. The similarities however lie in the materialism of the corrupted American Dream. What was once a pure dream became the race to becoming wealthy in ever possible way. Both Fitzgerald and the Contemporary Dream emphasize the possessions of one. Fitzgerald however looks at this in a negative way while the other presents materialism as positive and a necessity to achieving the American Dream.



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