The American Dream in Citizen Kane and The Great Gatsby

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The United States of America is the most powerful and wealthy country in the world. The varieties of class, individuality, religion, and race are a few of the enrichments within the "melting pot" of our society. The blend of these numerous diversities is the crucial ingredient to our modern nation. Even though America has been formed upon these diversities, its inhabitants- the "average American"- have a single thing in common; a single idea; a single goal; the American Dream. The Dream consists of a seemingly simple concept; success. Americans dream of a successful marriage, family, successful job, and own a Victorian-style home with a white picket fence and an oak tree with a swing tire in the front yard. The accessories add to the package according to the individuality of the American Dream. And, perhaps along with the "melting pot" includes the entangled extremes of each American's dream; the degree of the Dream is now ambiguous in terms of boundaries. Perhaps the American Dream varies for the individual as the individual varies.

Charles Foster Kane possessed everything the materialistic man could hope for. Kane had more money than he could count, power, a successful job, women at the crook of his arm, and expensive possessions some men would go to the extremes to have. Yet, Charles constantly had a vast void within him. The most important element Kane lacked was the single thing he couldn't have; that was love.

"You won't get lonely, Charles... You'll be the richest man in the world someday." Kane's mother and father try to use the image of money as collateral for giving him up. Charles experienced a great deal of loss in his early childhood. The traumatizing emotions of insecurity and disposition caused by his moving away from home are the roots of Charles' agonizing yearn to be loved. Sadly, Charles didn't have a long bond from his mother, but he loved her; Charles' mother never loved her son. "I've had his trunk packed for a week now." Charles' mother had his trunk ready ahead of time in anxiousness for him to leave. She signed the contracts without any hesitation and showed no signs of emotion in her stone face. Charles' unreturned love creates a sense of fear and hesitation to love something, only to experience abandonment again. Iron...

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...things in life, she turns back to Tom. Daisy knows she cannot have both. Even though her marriage with Tom does not consist of love, it is stable. Daisy, conscious of this stability, stays with what she feels secure, ignoring the bond she has formed with Jay. Similar to Susan Alexander, when Daisy Buchanan finally achieves what she thought she needed in her life, she returns to what she had before. But for Daisy, she returned to aristocracy and Susan returned to a more subtle, ordinary lifestyle where she could blend with society as Susan Alexander, not as an aristocrat.

Along with the ingredients of the "melting pot" are the jumbled ideas of the American Dream. Is there only one Dream? Perhaps it is simply happiness. No matter if it's money, love, security or a palace, a snow sled, or a green light, whatever it may be that fills the blank space in your heart, the Dream will create a sense of absolute contentment within yourself. As for some of us, simple, unconditional things can fill those blanks, and for others, possessions may occupy them, but the unbounded span of the Dream includes the unbounded span of the individual American.

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