The Grand Illusion in The Great Gatsby Essays

The Grand Illusion in The Great Gatsby Essays

Length: 827 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The American dream is a farce. Hopeful American children and quixotic foreigners believe that freedom will lead to prosperity, and that prosperity will bring happiness. This anticipation of joy will never come to fruition, and all these unfortunate people will feel that they were cheated out of happiness by some unlucky roll of dice, but really they have been chasing cars, because the American dream is not something one can truly capture, but only smoke trapped in the palm of a hand. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby’s lavish parties, characterized by music, dancing, and illegal alcohol, are a representation of the corruption of society’s values, and are filled with guests only concerned with material things as they step further and further away from the moral values that once dictated the lives of those before them. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald uses Gatsby’s parties to illustrate the “roaring” twenties as a time of gluttonous people who have abandoned moral values like wrecked ships in a storm of trivial desires as they chase the happiness that the American dream promises.
At the numerous parties that Gatsby throws, what is first apparent is the beauty and splendor of the party, but many of the guests are only there in attempt to make business connections to put themselves ahead in the economic world. At one of Gatsby’s parties that is attended by Nick, the narrator, he is “struck by the number of young Englishmen dotted around; all well dressed, all looking a little hungry, and all talking in low, earnest voices to prosperous Americans” (Fitzgerald 42). When Nick sees all these foreign men he is “sure that they were selling something: bonds or insurance or automobiles. They were at least agonizingly aware of the easy money in th...

... middle of paper ...

...twenties looked to the “new-rich,” like Gatsby, and believed that they themselves could walk alongside this self-made upper class without the hard work that was once believed to be the only factor in success and happiness. People like Gatsby created an illusion for the rest of the country that distorted the idea of the American dream, and broke down the protective walls that moral values put around hopeful young Americans. In The Great Gatsby, the twenties are depicted as a time of rebellion from moral values, and Fitzgerald uses Gatsby’s parties as a utensil to demonstrate this loss of moral values in post World War I America. The “roaring” twenties were a time of great social decay, and Gatsby’s parties are a symbol for the moral degradation that occurred everywhere in the twenties, from the valley of ashes to the drugstores, where you can buy anything nowadays.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

- ... As Gatsby himself chases Daisy so does the people of the united states chase their wildest dream. Going back to the fundamentals for the definition of the American Dream, we define it as the ideal that success can be reached through hard work, passion, and initiative. Yet that success is not defined by financial or social parameters, but by the ultimate satisfaction for the soul’s yearning undying quest for fulfillment. Whatever that fulfillment may be, it is only defined by the means of its allocation, for all stars burn, but each one is special in its own mesmerising light....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Better Essays
1686 words (4.8 pages)

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- Many people buy magazines and watch reality TV shows to catch a glimpse of the coveted lifestyles of the rich and famous. Society exalts wealth and frivolous expenditures on a pedestal which it labels as a ‘good life’. However, ordinary people really have no true knowledge of the lives celebrities and other wealthy individuals lead. Their careers and outward appearances can obscure their true character and personality from the view of the public. Many people fail to realize how wealth and a lifestyle filled with parties and other large can negatively affect the individuals who lead them in many different ways....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Better Essays
1329 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Accidental Murder and the American Dream in in "The Great Gatsby"

- Affairs and lies are just some of the things happing in West & East Egg, two communities on the outskirts of New York City. There is also an accidental murder and former lovers that find each other but they are not the same anymore. The Great Gatsby was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It follows the summer of 1922 told from sort of narration point of view. The story of the corruption of the American dream unfolds before the readers eyes. Throughout the reader realizes that the American dream of happiness and individualism has just become the quest to become wealthy....   [tags: Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald,]

Better Essays
1957 words (5.6 pages)

The Great Gatsby and the American Dream Essay

- Wealth, material possessions, and power are the core principles of The American Dream. Pursuit of a better life led countless numbers of foreign immigrants to America desiring their chance at the vast opportunity. Reaching the American Dream is not always reaching true happiness. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby achieves the American Dream, but his unrealistic faiths in money and life’s possibilities twist his dreams and life into useless life based on lies. Jay Gatsby believes he can buy happiness....   [tags: The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald]

Better Essays
945 words (2.7 pages)

gatjay F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby - Jay Gatsby as the Magician

- Jay Gatsby as the Magician in The Great Gatsby Magicians are known for the tricks that they play on the eyes. What often seems like magic, turns out to be just a careful flick of the wrist. In the book The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzerald, the magician is compared to the character of Jay Gatsby. The magician motif is used among other tools to prove that appearance is not always reality. The higher class throws sophisticated and glamorous parties that include many interesting people. They have fun and show off their fortunes with the grand affairs....   [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]

Free Essays
1041 words (3 pages)

Gatsby's Dream and Daisy's Conflicts in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

- Gatsby's Dream and Daisy's Conflicts in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Jay Gatsby, the central character of F. Scott Fitzgerald?s The Great Gatsby symbolizes the American dream. The American dream offers faith in the possibility of a better life. Its attendant illusion is the belief that material wealth alone can bring that dream to fruition. Through Gatsby, Fitzgerald brings together both these ideas. Jay Gatsby thinks money is the answer to anything he encounters. He has the best of everything....   [tags: Scott Fitzgerald Great Gatsby Essays]

Better Essays
1167 words (3.3 pages)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby - The Power of Money Essay

- In the preface to Major Barbara, the playwright George Bernard Shaw observes that "money is the most important thing in the world--it represents health, strength, honor, generosity and beauty," but, the poet continues, "it also destroys people as certainly as it fortifies and dignifies others" (Shaw 28). Shaw recognized that many people look toward money, the ultimate representation of materialism, in search of the power that enables them to live. But, money can play many parts in the drama of life....   [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]

Better Essays
666 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on Probing the American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

-      The history of America is filled with rapid change and remarkable energy. "America has progressed from a small collection of European rebels to the economically dominant nation that it is today" (Literature Classics). Entwined in the provocative reputation of America is the celebrated ideal of the American Dream, a fantasy of independence combined with the opportunity to attain wealth through hard work.  At the heart of the American Dream lies the aspiration of eternal bliss, which is always 'just around the corner.' The American Dream does not allow complacency; the need for continual progress is always present, urging one to work a little harder....   [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]

Better Essays
1322 words (3.8 pages)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay examples

- ... Over the years, Gatsby manages to gain status by making a lot of money and creating for himself and Daisy the image he wants to convey to others based on his dream; this is the first part of his dream that he manages to realize. Daisy is the main reason for his greatness and desire and ability to achieve some of his dream. “He took what he could get, ravenously and unscrupulously—eventually he took Daisy one still October night, took her because he had no real right to touch her hand” (Fitzgerald 149)....   [tags: the American dream, character analysis]

Better Essays
910 words (2.6 pages)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). “The Great Gatsby” by F.Scott Fitzgerald tells a tragic tale of materialistic wealth, and uses the colors green, yellow, and blue to convey wealth, hope and unhappiness, respectively, in this classic tale; hope being Gatsby’s saving grace and his ruination....   [tags: american dream, materialistic wealth]

Better Essays
953 words (2.7 pages)