Gatsby had no balance to the extremes of his material and spiritual sides of himself. His dream of winning over DaisyÕs love is masked by the desire to become rich. Fitzgerald created Gatsby to show the failure of the individual who believes the American Dream requires money. It is well documented America was to be a land of endless opportunity and wealth, however a nation needs more depth than itÕs promise of materialism. The true composition of a nation is the unity of its peopleÕs minds in order to achieve a universal acceptance.
The characters in The Great Gatsby are mere examples of Fitzgerald's message- the old American dream and all of its pure ideals have been replaced with money, greed, and materialism. Nick Carraway conveys this message as an outsider, an honest man from the mid-west who witnessed the whole affair as an observer. The Great Gatsby is not about the life and death of James Gatz, but about what James Gatz stood for. It is about the life and death of the old American Dream.
This ideal is embodied by the young Gatsby (then James Gatz): he painstakingly plans the path by which he will become a great man in his "Hopalong Cassidy" journal ¬ and then follows it, to the letter. When Mr Gatz shows the ragged book to Nick, he declares, "'Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what he's got about improving his mind? He was always great for that'."
While the charming and mysterious Jay Gatsby possesses the respectable attributes of a dedicated hero, his dream unfortunately ends in tragedy. As for the rest of society, the wealth is vast amongst the upper class, leaving the working class vulnerable to extreme exploitation. Fitzgerald proves that the American dream is a paradox—that while the pursuit of the dream is noble and aspirational, its attainment is both corrupting and highly improbable.
Instances occur where the author is shown gloating about his great accomplishments and he puts emphasis on his need to live a virtuous and morally perfect life. Throughout his story, Benjamin Franklin tells his son of his many virtuous acts and momentous achievements, motivating the question as to whether he seeks his own approval more so than the approval of his peers. Franklin looks back on his fervent love of books, particularly Dr. Cotton Mather’s Essays to do good wherein the minister preaches about the importance of human courtesy and doing good unto others. He concludes that Dr. Mather’s essays “gave [him] a Turn of Thinking that had an Influence on some of the principal future Events of my Life” (Franklin 13). By expressing the fact that Dr. Mather’s words played a pivotal role in his ambitions, it creates the assumption that the author’s life has been a quest for self-betterment.
Failure of Jay Gatsby of The Great Gatsby A society naturally breaks up into various social groups over time. Members of lower statuses constantly suppose that their problems will be resolved if they gain enough wealth to reach the upper class. Many interpret the American Dream as being this passage to high social status and, once reaching that point, not having to concern about money at all. Though, the American Dream involves more than the social and economic standings of an individual. The dream involves attaining a balance between the spiritual strength and the physical strength of an individual.
Fitzgerald incorporates the aspects of both the old dream and the new dream in his tragic story to depict how the American Dream has been corrupted and lost forever. The main qualities of the American Dream presented in "The Great Gatsby" are perseverance and hope which are relevant to the life of Jay Gatsby. This is shown through the eyes of Jay Gatsby, who focused all his attention on living the American dream and becoming a hero. Ever since he was a young, Gatsby worked hard on becoming a great man. This is documented in Gatsby's copy of the adventures of Hopalong Cassidy, who was an American figure.
In addition, the author Perkins in his book “The American Tradition in Literature” narrates that: “Franklin’s mind approved and his behavior demonstrated the fundamental concepts of the Age of Reason – faith in the reality of the world as revealed to the senses, distrust of the mystical or mysterious, confidence in the attainment of progress by education and humanitarianism, and the assurance that an appeal to reason would provide solutions for all human problems, including those of society and the state” (Perkins, P 154). Consequently, Franklin’s journey began from insufficient or lack of resources for education to a wealthy man of enormous stature and influence punctuates his emphasis on hard work and determination. Franklin’s limitless desire for knowledge and his persistent pursuit of bettering himself or self-improvement were central to his character. Every success and achievements in his life only encouraged him to achieve more. From the childhood, Franklin’s was a fond of reading, and a penny he was able to earn was ever laid out in books.
This Autobiography proves a story of an individual, rooted in a specific time and place, wrestling with universal human problems. Though very much a man of his own time, Franklin convincingly presents himself as a man for all times, regardless of who these thoughts were specifically intended for. To gain self-betterment, is to enhance who you are which in turn will help society as a whole, allowing the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin to be an accurate account of how to achieve the American Dream by a self-depicting utilitarian.