The Ambition and Corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Ambition and Corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, the characters, particularly Jay Gatsby strive to achieve the American Dream. During the 1920‘s, the American Dream was to have success. This success includes areas of wealth, love, and having material possessions, such as superb clothes, a vast house, and a car. Gatsby’s only reason to achieve the American Dream is so that he can win over the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan. Jay Gatsby symbolizes both the ambition and corruption of the American Dream in the 1920‘s.
Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan fell in love five years prior to the story line. In The Great Gatsby, Daisy would not marry Gatsby due to him not being rich. She waited too long for him. Daisy then met the rich Tom Buchanan, married him, and had a daughter name Pammy. Meanwhile Gatsby never gave up hope of being with Daisy. Gatsby moved to the West Egg, just across the bay from East Egg. Not only was this relevant because in the West Egg, the people worked for their money, where as in the East Egg, the people were born into their money, but also “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay” (p.78) Gatsby inherited money, but lost most of it during the Great War, so he has to gain it again. He spent three years to collect the money needed for the house. “I was in the drug business and then I was in the oil business.” (p.90) Numerous people had their beliefs on how Gatsby gained his money, some believed he was a murderer or a bootlegger. He did everything for and to be near Daisy. Buying the house with money that he worked hard for being a positive aspect. Many people in the 1920‘s may have bootlegged for money, but knowing that Gatsby worked helps show that there was hop...


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...you need to want it for yourself. Gatsby was so caught up in Daisy he lost sight of what the American Dream meant to him. If you reach for something and there are people or objects that get in the way, and you cannot remove them, the Dream is not possible, such as due to Pammy, Tom and Daisy’s daughter, Gatsby would not be able to have things go back to the way in which they were five years ago.
Gatsby represents the negative and positive aspects of the American Dream. He was so consumed in Daisy that the American Dream became corrupted. He gained success through his wealth and material possessions, but they ended up going against him. They were all the factors that led to his death. He made the American Dream all about Daisy and not what the American Dream meant to him.


Works Cited

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

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