The American Dream is a recurrent theme in American literature, dating back to some of the earliest colonial writings. Benjamin Franklin, who is considered to be the epitome of the self-made man once said, “The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself” (Franklin). Furthermore it is the belief that every man, whatever his origins, may pursue and attain his chosen goals; whether they be political, financial or social. However, the composition of the American Dream transformed as America changed. Gradually, individuals became fixated with affluence. The right to pursue happiness was still permissible, however; many persons began to believe their right was to pursue money. In the modernistic novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald unveils a unique expression of the American Dream, where effortless wealth and diminished social values exemplify its corruption. The novel entails a story of the disillusioned love between a man and a woman. The main character of the novel, Jay Gatsby, who stands for his nation, imagines...
The concept of one’s journey to reach the so called "American Dream" has served as the central theme for many novels. However, in the novel The Great Gatsby, the author, F. Scott Fitzgerald, portrays the American Dream as so opulent it is unrealistic and unreachable. The American Dream is originally about obtaining happiness, but by the 1920's, this dream has become twisted into a desire for fame and fortune by whatever means; mistaken that wealth will bring happiness. Fitzgerald illustrates that the more people reach toward the idealistic American dream, the more they lose sight of what makes them happy, which sends the message that the American dream is unattainable. The continuos yearning for extravagance and wealthy lifestyles has become detrimental to Gatsby and many other characters in the novel as they continue to remain incorrigible in an era of decayed social and moral values, pursuing an empty life of pleasure instead of seeking happiness.
The American dream has an inspiring connotation, often associated with the pursuit of happiness, to compel the average citizen to prosper. In Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby’s infatuation for Daisy drives him towards wealth in order to respark his love. Due to Daisy’s rich background, the traditional idea of love becomes skewed because of the materialistic mindsets of people in the 1920s. In the novel the wealthy are further stratified into two social classes creating a barrier between the elite and the “dreamers”. Throughout the novel, the idea of the American dream as a fresh start fails. As Nick, the narrator, spends time in New York, he realizes the corruption pursuing goals. Characters such as Gatsby and Myrtle constantly strive toward an the American dream, which Nick realizes to be fruitless in the end.
The word “great” has many meanings – outstanding, eminent, grand, important, extraordinary, and noble – that vary with the intent of the speaker and the interpretation of the listener. Someone may perceive something as great, while someone else may consider that same thing horrendous. The greatness of a being is not determined by the individual, but by those around them who experience and perceive their greatness through actions and words. In the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the narrator, Nick Carraway, believes Gatsby to be a great person with a “gorgeous” personality. It is Nick’s perceptions of Gatsby that encourage the reader to also find him “great.” Gatsby, through his actions, his dreams, and his heart, distinguishes himself from the “foul dust” and makes himself “worth the whole damn bunch put together.” Gatsby creates an illusion for others, as he manages to appear to belong to a higher class than he really does. He fools “the spectators” around him by throwing extravagant parties that give off a sense of great wealth and stature. While the person of Jay Gatsby himself is a masterful illusion, James Gatz, although a flawed character, is essentially great.
The simple definition of the American dream is a state of happiness a person hopes to achieve by obtaining materialistic prosperity through hard work. This however has not always been the dream. In early America the dream of many was to venture west, find land, and start a family, but as time progressed the dream has transformed into a need for materialistic possessions such as a car or a large house. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald reveals the how corrupt the American Dream has become and how truly irrelevant money and worldly possessions are to becoming genuinely satisfied. He does this through his portrayal of Gatsby’s confused love for Daisy or the idea of Daisy, Daisy and Tom Buchanan’s marriage, and the death of Gatsby.
The American Dream has no strict definition, however in the twentieth century and in many ways still today, it has become the term which describes an inherent faith in the promise of the new world. It was an age of capitalism and materialism. In the post war period America became an incredibly affluent country, which rapidly industrialized and developed the quality of life. The American dream, through the eyes of Fitzgerald, was originally about discovery, individualism, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet the 1920’s are depicted in the novel, as a time of decayed social and moral values, corrupting this dream, evident in its overreaching cynicism, greed, and empty pursuit of pleasure. This is epitomized in the lavish parties that Gatsby throws every Saturday night. As the unrestrained desire for money and pleasure surpass more noble goals the American Dream reaches its ultimate corruption.
The American Dream is the notion that the American economic, social, and political system makes it possible for every individual to be successful, the hope for equality and self-fulfillment. America seemed to promise endless opportunities socially and financially for anyone who is willing to work hard. F. Scott Fitzgerald condemns the idea of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby. Through the empty lives of three characters, Fitzgerald shows that chasing unattainable dreams will only lead to misery. Everyone in the lower class works toward being a part of the upper class. Myrtle Wilson dreamed of being a woman of status and marrying a gentleman who was capable of taking care of her. Unlike other characters in the book, instead of achieving her own dream, Myrtle had to find a man to achieve her dream for her. Jay Gatsby on the other hand changed his whole life around, did everything in his will to become part of the upper class so he can win over the true love of his life. He must have believed that life rewards those who work hard and if he sticks to his plan he could accomplish whatever he set his mind to. Despite Daisy Buchanan’s love for Gatsby, she chose to marry Tom Buchanan because he could socially and financially protect him. Daisy chose wealth over true love and happiness because she wanted to be a woman of status regardless of whether she was truly happy or not.
Through out history, laws have been established with the intentions of making societies better. Instead of following these laws in fear of government punishment, the citizens followed them because they saw how they made improvements to their society. However, there have been times when laws did not have enough input from the citizens and were passed quickly. When this occurred the laws backfired on the government and the citizens went against them. That is what happened in the 1920’s when the 18th amendment passed to end sales, production, and distribution of alcohol. During WWI, the government came quickly to pass prohibition to decrease the alcohol consumption, but with little enforcement there were higher organized crimes for wealth, as portrayed by Jay Gatsby in Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby.
The Great Gatsby: A Life Foolishly Lived Released in 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby cleverly demonstrates the manners and morals commonly practiced throughout the time period. The plot revolves around several main themes and effectively expresses Fitzgerald’s unique perspective. With an objective standpoint, Nick Carraway narrates the story as Jay Gatsby, a foolish racketeer, tries to win over his lifelong love, Daisy Buchanan. Although pecuniary matters can often be too large of an influence on human relationships, the novel unveils several powerful battles entangling love, morals, and money. As Nick Carraway follows the tale of Jay Gatsby pursuing a dream, Gatsby can be observed as a foolish man working so hard, and yet accomplishing nothing.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald tells the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers. Fitzgerald uses the Roaring Twenties as the setting of this novel. The twenties were a time of promiscuity, new money, and a significant amount of illegal alcohol. Fitzgerald was a master of his craft and there was often more to the story than just the basic plot. He could intertwine political messages and a gripping story flawlessly. In the case of The Great Gatsby, he not only chronicles a love story, but also uses the opportunity to express his opinion on topics such as moral decay, crass materialism, individual ethics, and the American dream.