The American Dream in The Great Gatsby


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     “The American Dream“: what does it mean? Wealth, material possessions, and power are the core values of “The American Dream.” For many Americans, the dream is based solely upon reaching a higher standard of living. Gatsby was one of these Americans who lived his whole life in pursuit of wealth and power.

     Gatsby based his whole self-being on how much money he earned and the possessions he had. He felt that with money came many other advantages to life. Gatsby’s sole purpose for acquiring wealth was to win back his old love. When Gatsby first met Daisy he was underprivileged and considered unworthy because of his lower class status. He knew that while he was poor there was no chance of them ever uniting as a couple. “I was poor”, Gatsby had no money and he thought that Daisy “was tired of waiting around for me” (131). Gatsby felt that the only way to win Daisy back was to reach for what many people considered the “American Dream.” Gatsby achieves “The American Dream”, but his idealistic faith in money and life’s possibility twist his dreams and life into worthless existences based on falsehoods.

     Gatsby was able to reach his aspiration in becoming wealthy. He worked all of his life employed in many different jobs in hope of making it big and being able to show Daisy what he had become. He felt that money would be able to buy him happiness. Gatsby also bought a huge house to try and impress Daisy. “ A factual imitation of some Hotel De Ville in Normandy, with a tower on one side, and a marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawn and garden” ( 5.) His house was nothing more than a symbol of his wealth. Gatsby used the house in an attempt to win Daisy back. He would throw party after party hoping that one day she would attend and be amazed at what Gatsby had become. He bought all of his possessions not for himself, but to show others what he was worth.

     Gatsby realized that Daisy’s main and only concern in life was money. She was so caught up in money and material things that it was more important to her than true love. This made Gatsby believe that anything was possible when you had money. After becoming wealthy his only purpose was to swoon and impress the shallow Daisy.

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Gatsby innocently assumes that his money and accomplishments can buy anything – even Daisy’s love. But even after Gatsby acquires his wealth he still comes from the wrong background and class of society. He is unable to offer Daisy the security and comfort that she so intensely craves. Daisy is the type of person who needs to feel secure and know that everything in her life is stable. Daisy loved Gatsby but her love for wealth, security, and class was for more important to her.

     Although Gatsby did reach his “American Dream” of wealth, he did not acquire Daisy, which was the one thing he wanted the most. Gatsby tried to buy happiness and became something he was not. Even with all of his money and possessions, he was still not able to truly be happy. He lived his whole life in pursuit of money and class, but ended up dying for his so called “American Dream”. This shows that money and power are not everything in life. Gatsby felt that with money he would be able to make all of his dreams come true. He only found out that this was impossible after his death. Gatsby’s “American Dream” was not all he made it out to be.


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