The American Dream in The Great Gatsby

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Within the veins of every American flows the undeniable drive to succeed. This power creates rich from poor, turns struggles into money and ultimately opens the window for all peoples to better themselves. Although the American dream still converts dirt into gold today, views on this leap to greatness have changed moderately since the 1920’s.
In the beginning America was new and undiscovered. There were resources just waiting to be taken hold of in order to attain great riches and with this came the birth of the American Dream. The American Dream is the idea that with unfaltering determination one can acquire a prosperous life. Jay Gatsby only wanted to gain money so he could have his dream life with Daisy who needed someone who could take care of her. At the time “he had no comfortable family standing behind him”(Fit. 156). Throughout history people have fled from poverty to America in order to find a better way of life where they can accomplish the ultimate goal of wealth. For example, the Irish immigrants went to America to escape starvation and a worthless existence, in hope for a brand new start at a good life. Since the start, America has been a land where anything can happen and anyone can be rich with a little hard work. America is a place where the old caste system is abandoned and freedom to do anything and be anyone is taken to a new extreme.
In the 1920’s those who were born into wealth looked down on those who had just acquired it. The old rich had high-class traditions, which the new rich lacked. The old rich also did not trust the new rich made evident as Tom says to Nick “ a lot of these newly rich people are just big bootlegger, you know.”(Fit.114). Old rich people were educated and polite while the new rich were just looking for a good time. At partys the newly rich got drunk and displayed despicable behavior which the old rich frowned upon "She was appalled by West Egg...by its raw vigor that chafed...and by the too obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a short-cut from nothing to nothing. She saw something awful in the very simplicity she failed to understand.”(Fit. 113). It is unfair to think that people who were born into wealth were treated with higher respect than those who worked terribly hard for it, but the old rich viewed those who followed the American Dream “as the hollow men as the stuffed men”(Eliot 17-18).

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In the 1920’s the old rich had high standards and saw themselves better than the new rich.
Today’s view towards money is somewhat different from that of the 1920’s. Now there is no difference between the newly wealthy and the older wealthy, rich is rich. For example, music artists and Bill Gates are newly wealthy yet considered with the same high standards as George Bush. However today we are still envious of the wealthy and want to join them in their rich lifestyle. People try “get rich” schemes, gamble, and buy lottery tickets to acquire vast wealth and others work hard at the American Dream. Towards the poor we throw our pity and our cash. We raise money for the hungry, do walks for the needy and donate clothing. Another difference we have is regarding the people we marry. Today the rich marry the poor and the new rich marry the old rich. People don’t have such high standards of society. They are more open to others. In conclusion our society’s perspective toward the rich and poor have changed for the better.
     One’s outlook toward the American Dream has changed somewhat from the 1920’s to today. People are more open to others who have attained wealth within their lifetimes. People who work hard for their earnings are given the same respect as those who have been had the benefit of money early on. Either way, people are people and are all the same no matter what lifestyle they were born into.



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