The Destruction of the American Dream in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

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In The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the main theme is most directly related to the American Dream. The American Dream is based on the idea that any person, no matter who they are, can become successful in life by working hard. The Great Gatsby is about what happened to the American Dream during the 1920's, an era when the dream had been corrupted by the relentless pursuit of wealth. The pursuit of the American Dream is the ultimate cause of the downfall of the main character, Jay Gatsby.

Throughout the story, Jay Gatsby avoids telling the truth of his hard, ordinary childhood. He does this to keep his image and to save himself from the embarrassment of being in a state of poverty during his youth. His parents were unsuccessful people who worked on the farm, and because of this Gatsby never really accepted them as his parents. Jay Gatsby?s real name is Jay Gatz and he is from North Dakota. He changed his name to Jay Gatsby when he was seventeen years old, which was the beginning of his version of the American Dream. In all realities Gatsby arose from his Platonic view of himself, the idealistic self-view that a seventeen year old boy has of himself (Fitzgerald 104). Gatsby's embarrassing childhood is a major source of determination in his attempt to achieve the American Dream.

It was in the army as a young adult when Gatsby first met Daisy. He initially loved Daisy because of her extraordinary house and because many other men had already been with her. Gatsby fell in love with Daisy, and in turn Daisy fell in love with Gatsby. ?Daisy was the first ?nice? girl that he had ever known?(Fitzgerald 155). Their love was an uneasy one at first for Gatsby to comprehend because he wasn?t rich by any standards and ...

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...ramatic affirmation in fictional terms of the American spirit in the midst of an American world that denies the soul (Bewley 46).?Gatsby?s strong desire for wealth and Daisy, (the American Dream), prove to be the greatest reasons for his grave downfall.

Works Cited

Bewley, Marius. ?Scott Fitzgerald and the Collapse of the American Dream.? Modern

Critical Views: F. Scott Fitzgerald. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers,1985: 32-45.

Bruccoli, Matthew J., Preface. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. 1st ed. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print.

Mizener, Arthur. ?F.ScottFitzgerald: The Great Gatsby.? The American Novel: From

James Fenimore Cooper to William Faulkner. Ed. Wallace Stegner. New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1965: 180-191.
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