A minor character in The Great Gatsby, Myrtle Wilson, who lives in the Valley of Ashes with her poor husband George Wilson, represents the degeneration of the once valued American ideals of hard work and honesty as Myrtle attempts to rise on the social scale by becoming the mistress of the wealthy Tom Buchanan. She embodies lucidly the loose morals and hedonism of the 1920s, for, when Tom visits, Myrtle, in front of her husband, walks up to Tom, “[looks] him flush in the eye, [wets] her lips,” and attempts to act as sensuous as possible so as to attracthis favor and interest (Fitzgerald 30). Furthermore, she frequently lies to her husband, telling him that she plans to visit her sister when really, she leaves her home in order to engage in sexual intercourse with Tom, who lures Myrtle w...
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...ald asserts that the 1920s, an era of avarice, has corrupted the American Dream, its ideal of hard work, and Americans.
In conclusion, through his portrayal of Myrtle Wilson, Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby, and the partygoers, Fitzgerald illustrates that the American Dream is a mere illusion, corrupted so significantly by the people of the 1920s that it is hardly recognizable. He reveals the shallowness the American Dream— how under its glittering, golden surface, is greed and deception.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print.
Smiljanić, Siniša. "The American Dream in the Great Gatsby." The American Dream in The Great Gatsby. N.p., Apr. 2011. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.
"The Great Gatsby: Awakening from the American Dream." Dwelling in the Text. University of California Press, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.
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