The Great Gatsby and The American Dream

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The Great Gatsby brings a picture of the American society during the 1920's. This is a critical decade where the view of the American Dream has been transformed from the ideal dream to a materialistic dream. The view of the American Dream was always about coming from the bottom and working your way to the top. It was once based on discovery, self- reliance and happiness. The old American Dream before corruption allowed you to gain love, high status, money and power through work. You had to put in work to become on top. The American Dream was also based on family. However, times have change, so do values. The American Dream transformed into the materialistic aspects. The goal was to have a huge house, extravagant cars, and live life easily. It was no longer about work and dedication. Materialistic objects determines success now instead of verse versa, which shows corruption has taken place. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald illustrates the American Dream and its corruption through the evolution of a society from the wealth and social statuses they achieved.

One way that Fitzgerald illustrates the American Dream and its corruption is through the decay of moral and social values. Once the American Dream has transformed to a more materialistic view, the loss of moral and social values began to happen. Society was becoming lost in wealth which leads to greed. The pursuit of happiness turned into the pursuit of pleasure. For example in the novel, Gatsby began to throw wild parties every Saturday. Gatsby began to become ignorant and allow the newfound wealth to go to his head. The true goal of love was tainted and lost from the new social status, he gained. Gatsby at one time was also not being true to himself which shows a loss ...

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... of pleasure and money. This one dream once included individuality, happiness, and discovery has changed to a more materialistic dream. The Great Gatsby has become a symbolic novel for what money and newfound prosperity can do to a society. It is symbolic for America and how the corruption of the American Dream can cause the corruption of the world.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1985.

Bryant Mangum, "The Great Gatsby," Encyclopedia of the Novel, ed. Paul Schellinger, London and Chicago: Fitzroy-Dearborn, 1998, pp. 514-515. Reprinted with permission of Fitzroy-Dearborn Publishers.

Fahey, William. F. Scott Fitzgerald and the American Dream. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1973.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1996. Print.
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