The Residue of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

Satisfactory Essays
In The Great Gatsby Fitzgerald elucidates the hollowness of the American Dream, as the unrestrained longing for wealth and freedom exceeding more honorable desires. He illuminates the idea that having or attaining this American Dream will result in unethical behavior or unethical acts.

In the novel Jay Gatsby, the main protagonist, was born to a poor and underprivileged family in North Dakota. He devoted his life when he was an adolescent to achieving immense wealth and rising to the upper class. When he met worldly mentor Dan Cody, Jay Gatsby saw the opportunity to that American Dream. He eagerly changed his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby. He had expunged or at least suppressed all the aspects and memories of his past life including his parents. “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people, his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang up from his Platonic conception of himself.” (Fitzgerald 98) At a young age Jay Gatsby only had a glimpse at the American Dream through the help of Dan Cody and had already refuse to acknowledge who his parents were.

After achieving enormous wealth by unethical means such as selling liquor illegally during the prohibition he purchases a mansion on West Egg, Long Island, just across from Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s mansion. He bought that mansion only in pursuit of Daisy and throws countless parties to try to lure her in. When Gatsby befriends Nick Carraway he begins lying to Nick about his past just like he did to countless others. He tells Nick that he “the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West — all dead now”( Fitzgerald 65) and that he “was brought up in America but educated at Oxfo...

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...e just filthy bootleggers and are beneath him in terms of social status.

The definition of unethical is not conforming to approved standards of social or professional behavior. They were indeed unethical and they did obtain the American Dream. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”( Fitzgerald 179) In their minds money was enough to provide them happiness and all the necessity that they needed. They did numerous unethical acts and on many occasion displayed unethical behavior that was associated with the attainment of the American Dream, with the attainment of wealth and freedom.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004.
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