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The Great Gatsby: American Dream or American Nightmare? Essay

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“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


The American Dream, a long standing ideal embodies the hope that one can achieve financial success, political power, and everlasting love through dedication and hard work. During the Roaring 20s, people in America put up facades to mask who they truly were. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald conveys that the American Dream is simply an illusion, that is idealist and unreal. In the novel, Gatsby, a wealthy socialite pursues his dream, Daisy. In the process of pursuing Daisy, Gatsby betrays his morals and destroys himself. Through the eyes of the narrator, Nick, one sees the extent of the corruption Gatsby is willing to undertake in order to achieve his dream. Although Fitzgerald applauds the American Dream he warns against the dangers of living in a world full of illusions and deceit; a trait common during the Roaring 20s. The language and plot devices Fitzgerald uses convey that lies and facades, which were common during the Guided Age, destroys one’s own character and morals. Through Fitzgerald use of symbolism, expectations, and relationships, he explores the American dream, and how it is an illusion that corrupts and destroys lives.

Through Fitzgerald’s symbolic description of Gatsby, he explores the extent of the American Dream’s deceptive nature that slowly destroys a person and his/her morals. During the Roaring 20s it was very common for people to project illusions to mask who they truly were; to fit in, it was almost essential to have one to survive in the highly materialistic and deceitful society. Nick is introduced as the objective narrator...


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...an Dream that becomes corrupted and leads to the ultimate failure and destruction of himself. Some say that Americans strive for the impossible goal of perfection; they live, die and do unimaginable deeds to achieve it, and when they do, they may call the product their own American Dream. The American Dream is substantial perfection. In reality, perfection does not exist, but illusions do. Those who live in a world of lies cause their own demise. Life is a series of unending imperfections. Living a dream of perfection is not possible, thus reducing our cherished American Dream to a simple fantasy.


Works Cited


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

“The Great Gatsby in the 21st Century.” CBC Books. CBC/ Radio-Canada. 22 August 2012. Web. 5 May 2015.
http://www.cbc.ca/books/2012/08/the-great-gatsby-in-the-21st-century.html


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