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Gatsby and the American Dream

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The American Dream is what we all aspire to achieve. The idea of starting off with nothing and to become something has caused millions of people from all corners of the world to immigrate to this country for over 300 years. However, what exactly is the American Dream? F Scott Fitzgerald answers this question within his novel The Great Gatsby. Through the eyes of Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald analyses the high class of the 1920s and reveals that the American Dream has been distorted from a pure ideal of security into a convoluted scheme of materialistic power. Fitzgerald incorporates the aspects of both the Òold dreamÓ & the Ònew dreamÓ in his tragic story to depicts how the inflexible dream has been corrupted and lost forever.

Fitzgerald illustrates in The Great Gatsby that the qualities of the original dream are perseverance and hope. The most glorified of these characteristics is that of success against all odd. The ethic of hard work can be found in the life of the young James Gatz. His focus on becoming a great man is thoroughly depicted in his ÒHopalong CassidyÓ journal. When Mr. Gatsby showed the tattered book to Nick, Mr. Gatsby said, ÒJimmy was bound to get ahead. He always has some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what heÕs got about improving his mind? He was always great for thatÓ. The ÒHopalong CassidyÓ symbolizes the continual struggle for self-improvement, which has been the basis of America a land of opportunity.

Social Classes have always been apparent in civilization and America in the 1920s is no exception. Often those who rank in the lower classes usually feel that their problems will be resolved if they gain enough wealth to reach the upper class. This then offers a false connotation that the American Dream is this passage into to high social status and upon reaching that level, you are then able to abandon all economic worries. However, the American Dream involves more than acquiring wealth and a high social status. The dream involves attaining a balance between the spiritual strength and the physical strength of an individual. In the end of this book Jay GatsbyÕs ultimate goal to have Daisy love him never comes to fruition solely because he chooses to pursue his dream by engaging in a lifestyle of high class.

The product of hard work is the longing Jay Gatsby, who contains the purest chara...

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...umanityÓ: ÒSo we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the pastÓ. The dream is now completely gone without a possibility of being resurrected.

Through unfolding events of a doomed romance, F Scott Fitzgerald also depicts the inevitable doom of the American Dream. Gatsby had no balance to the extremes of his material and spiritual sides of himself. His dream of winning over DaisyÕs love is masked by the desire to become rich. Fitzgerald created Gatsby to show the failure of the individual who believes the American Dream requires money. It is well documented America was to be a land of endless opportunity and wealth, however a nation needs more depth than itÕs promise of materialism. The true composition of a nation is the unity of its peopleÕs minds in order to achieve a universal acceptance.

Fitzgerald uses Gatsby and the other characters to convey his message- The American Dream, once a pure and noble concept is now dead and buried into the ground by a dehumanized void which revolves around money. Perhaps the book is not a tribute to a man named Jay Gatsby, rather, a tribute of an a noble aspiration of realistic success which is now and forever gone.
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