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Failure of the American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

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Everyone has an ideal vision of what he or she wants out of life. In a perfect world, everyone would die happy having achieved every goal ever set. A perfect world does not exist. Fitzgerald knows this, and he chronicles the life of Gatsby. Gatsby deeply desires to live out the “American dream.” He wants fame, riches, parties, mansions, but most of all love. Gatsby succeeds in every area except the most important. Gatsby still feels a desire to fulfill his final dream of finding a true love. Not willing to settle for an arbitrary love, Gatsby sets his sights on a young woman named Daisy. The problem is that Gatsby can never have Daisy because she is already in a relationship with another man. Gatsby, still wanting Daisy’s love but unwilling to truly pursue it, attempts to fill his life with material wealth and parties and everything but love. Gatsby comes to see social standing and high society as the most important aspects of personality, rather than depth and truth. This leads to his eventual downfall and tragic death as an empty shell of a man.

While Jay Gatsby was in World War I, he was in love with Daisy. They were a loving couple, but Daisy left him because he was away at war and was also very poor. Daisy decides to leave him and marry Tom Buchanan because she wants a man who is wealthy. Gatsby is so determined to get Daisy back in his life that he moves to West Egg, a town next to New York City, to be near her.

One reason that Gatsby's dream is never accomplished is because his wealth takes over his integrity. His high social status causes Gatsby to focus on immediate indulgences, rather than long-term pleasures of life, such as his dream. Gatsby not only throws parties for Daisy, but he feeds off th...

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...re of the American Dream in that wealth takes over his life. He loses sight of everything that is important to him and ends up living a meaningless existence. Today, Americans get so wrapped up in the immediate glory of things that they don't take time to see what is really happening and what or who they deeply, honestly care about.

Works Cited and Consulted

Donaldson, Scott, ed. Critical Essays on F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby." Boston: G. K. Hall, 1984.

Fahey, William A. F. Scott Fitzgerald and the American Dream. New York: Crowell, 1973.

Fiztgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Charles Scribner's Sons. (1953).

Mangum, Bryant. A Fortune Yet: Money in The Art of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Short Stories. New York: Garland, 1991.

Stavola, Thomas J. Scott Fiztgerald: Crisis in American Identity. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1979.
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