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Essay on The Fall of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

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The Roaring 20's was an era of decadence and endless possibility. The American Dream was something that everyone coveted. Essentially, The American Dream meant that anyone who had the talent and worked hard enough, could achieve it. Money, a loving spouse, and status all showed that a person had been successful in their life and were vital points to the American Dreams of the Characters in the Great Gatsby. Many of them strived in their own way to achieve “the dream”, however, twisted ideals of love, wealth, and class led to the eventual fall of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.
Love was turned into a conquest in The Great Gatsby instead of what love should really be; deep feelings of care and affection towards a person. According to Marilyn Roberts, “The acquisition of a high-status woman [was] an essential part of their dream.” Without love, their lives would not be complete and they would be considered a failure. In The Great Gatsby, the affections of Daisy became a prize for “the better man”. Tom and Gatsby turned her into a trophy to be “fought over on the basis of social and economic conventions...Daisy [was] a possession.” (Callahan). Instead of letting Daisy choose who she really loved, the men turned her love into some sort of game to show off their wealth and status. Similar to how a Buck might display its antlers to other males, it's all about showing off their power. In Daisy, Gatsby's “meretricious dream was made flesh.” (Trask) and he realized in order to fulfil his “dream”, he must have her. However, Daisy was unattainable and could never be a “legitimate actualization of Gatsby's illegitimate dream.” (Trask). Gatsby did not realize this though and would have her at any price. Even if it meant becoming ...


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...Gatsby." Canadian Review of American Studies.
28.1 (1998): p19, 23p. Academic Search Elite. Web. 6 Nov. 2010.

Pauly, Thomas H. "Gatsby Is a Sinister Gangster" Readings on The Great Gatsby. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven, 1998. Print.

Roberts, Marilyn. "Scarface, The Great Gatsby and the American Dream." Literature/Film Quarterly
34.1 (2006): p71-78. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Nov. 2010

Stocks, Claire. "All Men Are [not] Created Equal': F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: Claire Stocks Illustrates How the Narrator's Bias towards This Novel's Hero Is Central to the Critique of Belief in the 'American Dream'" The English Review.
17.3 (Feb. 2007): p9. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Nov. 2010.

Trask, David F. "A Note on Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby." University Review
33.3 (Mar. 1967): p197-202. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Nov. 2010.


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