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Hope and the American Dream Portrayed in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

Powerful Essays
“The Great Gatsby”, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, portrays a world filled with rich societal happenings, love affairs, and corruption. Nick Carraway is the engaged narrator of the book, a curious choice considering that he is in a different class and almost in a different world than Gatsby and the other characters. Nick relates the plot of the story to the reader as a member of Gatsby’s circle. He has ambivalent feelings towards Gatsby, despising his personality and corrupted dream but feeling drawn to Gatsby’s magnificent capacity to hope. Using Nick as a moral guide, Fitzgerald attempts to guide readers on a journey through the novel to illustrate the corruption and failure of the American Dream. To achieve this, Nick’s credentials as a reliable narrator are carefully established and reinforced throughout the story.

The American Dream is a sensitive and beloved topic in American culture. Discussing its failure and corruption needs to be done gently and morally. Fitzgerald understood this, and therefore acknowledged the need of a kind and cordial narrator within a materialistic society. Enter Nick Carraway, who on the first page lets readers know “In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments” pg 7. This statement already serves to set Nick up as a decent and honest man that can be trusted. To back up this statement Fitzgerald included a short section regarding Nick’s family and background.

The Carraway’s claim themselves to be loyal Americans. However, when Nick’s great uncle was called to fight in the Civil War, a substitute was sent in his place. This provides concrete evidence of Nick’s honesty. If he is able to see hypocrisy within his own family, there is no doubt that he is a forthright gentleman. Nick g...

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... his aspirations. His dream symbolizes the larger American Dream in which all have the equal opportunity to get what they want. Nonetheless, the failure of his personal dream also typifies the collapse of the American Dream as a whole.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, “The Great Gatsby”, tells a story of a world corrupted by money, greed, and pursuit of the American Dream. Even though the novel is titled after Gatsby, Nick analyzes the actions of others and presents the story so that the reader can comprehend the central theme: Despite the fact that human beings will inevitably fail, we still encompass a brilliant capacity to hope. This is the heart of the American Dream and Nick acknowledged and explained it. Without him, the story would not have been possible. Nick was like the box of a puzzle; the puzzle is impossible to put together without it.
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