The Fallacy of the American Dream in Fitzgerald’s "The Great Gatsby"

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The Roaring Twenties, The Jazz Age; these were just some of the names for the 1920s. However, all those fancy names do not actually describe the essential motivations of the people in the 1920s. In actuality, the 1920s were an age of conformity, false aspirations due to the American dream, and the obsession with social class statuses.

What is the American dream? The simplest version of the American dream is a nice house and family, with the white picket fence in the front yard. For many families this dream came true, but for others, it was not quite possible to achieve. In Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, Nick gives his thoughts on Gatsby after things between him and Daisy fall through. He says “He must have felt he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream…” (8). When you concentrate on just one dream you are blind to other alternatives and dreams. With your mind set so tight on one idea, you are unconsciously setting yourself up for failure because you have no back up plan. The 1920s seemed to be full of wealth and fame but this was not valid. According to statistics, “It is a fact that millions of people lived below the poverty line in the 1920s”. It is clear now that you always need another dream to fall back on. Because of the fallacy of the American dream, many people were left with nothing because what they strived for was not sufficiently backed up.

America symbolized struggles between traditionalists and those who echoed conformity and intolerance, which resulted in strong feelings against opposing races. Everyone in the 1920s wanted all the glitters and gold as the famous and rich stars. Because of this, most people resorted to conformity in order to pretend that they were ...

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...ilies living on the wrong side of the tracks” (Levine. 8). Social class is inevitable. You have no say to what family you are born into. Unfortunately this blessing or curse carries throughout your whole life and impacts you tremendously. It is essentially your fate.

All of the names that were given to the 1920s for being classy and exciting do not seem to be very valid, especially when you consider the amount of discrimination and corruption in the 1920s lifestyles. The 1920s were the prime time for intolerance and conformity; and also for all the failures due to the fallacy of the American dream and curses laid upon people for the social class and status they were born into. For the small population of rich and famous people that these problems did not affect, most of America had to suffer through these inevitable downfalls that had been strewn through their fate.
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