Failure in the American Dream in the Great Gatsby by F. Scoot Fitzgerald

Failure in the American Dream in the Great Gatsby by F. Scoot Fitzgerald

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The American Dream as shown in The Great Gatsby has been proven by F. Scott Fitzgerald to be an unattainable belief in the “Pursuit of Happiness” through the fault of morality. Typically, happiness is being content with ones standing in life regarding wealth, family, love, class, and friendship. Throughout the 1920’s, the decline in morality had shaped the dream into a materialistic goal by accumulating wealth, love, social class, friendship and power. The novel never mentions a specific dream or goal that was to be obtained, only the idea. Bewley has stated, “In Gatsby’s America, the dream is undefined to itself.” (Bewley 12). The American Dream is not something that is merely obtained. It is much like a destination; the journey is what makes the dream come to life. Focal characters such as Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom, each go through a journey to understand what happiness is and how their morality ultimately failed them in the end. Each character wants what they cannot have. Although the characters are thought to have no morals at all, it is the morals they have that lead them to understand they cannot be happy with themselves.
Gatsby’s theory of happiness was based on the idea of wealth, love, and power. Residing on the West Egg, home to the new rich – his intentions were questionable. Without fully disclosing where his money came from, most assumed Gatsby earned his wealth from the Prohibition. Something money could not buy was power. Although those who lived in the West Egg were extremely wealthy, they did not hold the power that those from the East Egg held. Power came from old wealth, money brought down from generation. Having already obtained wealth, the only thing he needed was power and love. To obtain power, he needed somet...


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...times they feel they need to be set aside to achieve what they were setting out for. Daisy, Gatsby, and Tom had all interloped within someone's life - a place where they had to business being. Gatsby failed to understand that he couldn’t make Daisy fall in love with him. Even if she did, he would not have had the power he was looking for anyways – Daisy would. Although Daisy appeared to be the foolish character, she knew what she had done wrong and used her feelings as a way to hide how she really felt. Tom failed to achieve happiness because he felt as if he always needed something more to grasp on to. Without the journey each character took, none of them would have realized what made them into who they were, even if they didn’t completely understand it themselves. Happiness was to be content, and in a time of endless possibilities, the impossible has been found.


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Failure in the American Dream in the Great Gatsby by F. Scoot Fitzgerald

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