The American Dream : Poisoned By Sexism? Essay

The American Dream : Poisoned By Sexism? Essay

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Christian Harsvik
Sarah Porter
Humanities 11
10 Nov. 2014
The American Dream: Poisoned by Sexism?
The American Dream has been corrupted. The American Dream is the idea that core principal that all people have equal opportunity for prosperity and success and upward social mobility achievable through hard work and effort. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, depicts one man’s life where his constant pursuit of happiness leads him ultimately to death but also an unusual perspective on sexism at the time. The novel is set in 20th century New York featuring a man named Jay Gatsby, born James “Jimmy” Gatz, who was born into poverty but always aspired for more. At the start of the novel he is a wealthy businessman who is deeply in love with a woman from his past. Throughout the book he pursues this woman, Daisy Buchanan, slowly becoming less sexist. However Daisy is married to a rampant sexist, Tom Buchanan. As Gatsby becomes less sexist, Nick Caraway, the narrator, begins to understand how it is corrupting the American Dream in terms of gender equality, but still continues to express sexist views. Throughout the novel Nick observes that the American Dream is corrupted by sexism through Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s relationship, female perspectives on gender roles, and the male perspective on self-empowered women.
The American dream is unmistakably corrupted by Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s relationship. Both Tom and Daisy come from wealth and power and the upper class of society. Tom is a very rude and egoistic character who continuously expresses arrogance towards race and sex. Daisy on the other hand would be considered entirely careless if she was not so selfish and materialistic. Throughout the novel, it is clear that Tom ...


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... and not as weighted. Nick is unaware and even participates in this clear depiction of the evident corruption of the American Dream as men hold women to lower standards.
Fitzgerald expresses the corruption of the American Dream during the 1920’s and in The Great Gatsby through the use of sexism. Daisy and Tom’s relationship is an example of male dominance in a relationship as Tom is the undisputed power in both his relationships; his wife and his mistress. Daisy displays a glimpse of her inner-self as she expresses her ideas on sexism and gender roles; through the common idea of ‘ignorance is bliss.’ Nick is unaware of his demonstration of sexism towards Jordan when he generalizes women as being below him. While Nick does observe that the American Dream is becoming corrupted, he fails to notice the complete idea of the corruption of sexism on the American Dream.

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