Ambivalence Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

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In the novel The Great Gatsby, one of the main themes that is dealt with is that of the American Dream and what exactly our perception, as well as characters in the novel, of it is. However, the portrayal of this idea is one which is ambivalent in nature and the following essay will discuss why this is the case. The American dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of their physical and environmental limitations (race, class, gender etc.) can be successful in America, or more accurately obtain a certain degree of wealth and satisfaction, if they work hard. However, the novel takes this simple idea and turns it into something corrupting and unattainable. When discussing the ideal of the ambivalent American Dream, it is only fair to start with the man who gives his name to the novel, Jay Gatsby himself- who, for all intents and purposes is the epitome of someone chasing the dream. We see this perhaps…show more content…
They are two characters who, instead of working hard for their wealth, were simply born into it (the upper-class life) and thus had no reason to ever chase the dream as they already had it at their feet. It could then be said that because of this entitled life they were bred into, they directly or at the very least seem to antagonize the idea of the ‘American Dream’; Daisy- through her refusal of Gatsby’s love, and choosing to instead remain in her secure, wealthy marriage to Tom, and Tom by contributing to the demise of George and Myrtle Wilson; a couple who, individually, were striving for their own version of the dream (albeit through different ways) but who both fail to achieve it. “‘What do you want money for, all of a sudden?’ ‘I’ve (George Wilson) been here too long. I want to get away. My wife(Myrtle) and I want to go West’.”
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