gatdream Death of the American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby


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Death of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

 

 

 

The American Dream embodies the belief that each person can succeed in life on the basis of his own skills and effort. This idea awakes and develops during the 18th and 19th centuries - a period of fast development in the United States. The issues of growth, progress and money become a major theme in American society, which is why Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby focuses on this problem. Through the characters Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby, the author impressively presents a failure in achieving this dream. The collapse of Gatsby's attempt to win Daisy proves that dreams, money and blind faith in life's possibilities, are not enough for a man to reach his goals.

 

Gatsby perceives Daisy as a rich, beautiful and charming young lady, who represents the perfect woman. This ideal inspires his love and evokes his dream to reach her. He is a poor and uneducated young man, without any past. This is why Gatsby is impressed by the glamour and careless gayety that surrounds Daisy. That veneration is expressed in his words: "I was flattered that she wanted to speak to me, because of all the other girls I admired her most." The beauty of her life, fill Gatsby's mind with passionate sense of mystery and love. He sees Daisy as an "excitingly desirable" woman, which makes him thrilled, but at the same time unsure about the future. Even though he feels she is unreachable, he keeps his hope, which inspires him to fight for her.

 

Gatsby's ambition represents the American Dream. He believes that despite his empty past and lack of education, he can succeed on the basis of his abilities, hard work and money. Gatsby does everything - legal and illegal in order to gain the wealth and property that will win him Daisy. The source of his money is unclear, and as Tom Buchanan suggests he is a "bootlegger". This denotes that Gatsby is determined to achieve his goal and is ready to put all the efforts needed to accomplish his high set aim. He has a blind hope in the abilities of life - he trusts that money can buy him Daisy's love.

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This can be recognized in his dialogue with Nick Carraway: "You can't repeat the past." - "Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can!" His firm decision to win the woman he loves can be seen also in the splendor of his parties, the impressiveness of his house, the extravagance of his clothes and car. Gatsby is so frantic to reach his dream, that he lets his hope be the only thing that leads him. That's why he is blinded by his dream. Despite the realization that what attracts him to Daisy is her beautiful and rich life - "Her voice is full of money"; Gatsby remains devoted to his goal till the end of his life. His sentimental idealism stays alive, even when he sees the emptiness of Daisy's careless life. This proves that Gatsby's dream is his leading force in live and he can't give it up, even though he knows that Daisy is married.

 

The failure of The American Dream in Gatsby's life is represented by his moral decadence. Instead of becoming progressive and honorable man, he turns into a member of the "rotten crowd", to which Tom and Daisy belong. As Fitzgerald says: "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made." By letting Daisy be the only important person in his life, he becomes dependent on her. Attempting to win her love, he grows to be a person as careless as she is. For Gatsby significant are only Daisy's emotions and reactions. They determine his own feelings and deeds. He stops thinking about the other people - when he and Daisy kill Myrtle, the only thing he is worried about is if Daisy will have problems or not. Gatsby's lack of concern about his future leads to his death. With his downfall, collapses also the American Dream, for which he fights.

 

Scott Fitzgerald's novel illustrates the idea that the American Dream isn't always achievable. It demonstrates that when a person is blinded by his beliefs and goals, he can easily loose the right road. In order to succeed, the individual needs more than money, dreams and faith. By being witnesses to Gatsby's breakdown, we realize that they are enough only to bring the person to his downfall. That's why self-control, independent judgment are significant in the fight for reaching aims. Therefore, people should keep their ability to see reality, despite all difficulties, in order to thrive.

 

 


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