Thesis: The pursuit of the American Dream is a dominant theme throughout The Great Gatsby, which is carried out in various ways by F. Scott Fitzgerald, how the author represents this theme through his characters and their actions is one small aspect of it.
Fitzgerald's dominant theme in The Great Gatsby focuses on the corruption of the American Dream. By analyzing high society during the 1920s through the eyes of narrator Nick Carraway, the author reveals that the American Dream has transformed from a pure ideal of security into a convoluted scheme of materialistic power. In support of this message, Fitzgerald highlights the original aspects as well as the new aspects of the American Dream in his tragic story to illustrate that a once impervious dream is now lost forever to the American people.
The foundation qualities of the American Dream depicted in The Great Gatsby are perseverance and hope. The most glorified of these characteristics is that of success against is that of success against all odds. The ethic of hard work can be found in the life of young James Gatz, whose focus on becoming a great a man is carefully documented in his ?Hopalong Cassidy? journal. When Mr. Gatz shows the tattered book to Nick, he declares, ? Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always has some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what he?s got about improving his mind? He was always great for that? (Fitzgerald, pg 182). The journal portrays the continual struggle for self-improvement, which has defined the image of America as a land of opportunity. ?By comparing the young James Gatz to the young Benjamin Franklin, Fitzgerald proves that the American Dream is indeed able to survive in the face of modern society.?(Website)
A society naturally breaks up in 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.?(Lehan, pg.53) Jay Gatsby fails to reach...
... middle of paper ...
Through the unfolding events of a doomed romance, Fitzgerald simultaneously unfolds the tragic fate of American values. Gatsby possesses an extreme imbalance between the material and spiritual sides of himself. His ultimate goal of love swaps places with his secondary goal of becoming rich. He portrays the ultimate failure of the American Dream in that individuals tend to believe wealth is everything. Historically, America was the new world of endless opportunity and wealth. But a nation cannot operate solely on materialism. The spirits of individuals are the true composition of a nation.
Gatsby and the other characters of his story act as vessels for the author?s true message- the American Dream, once a pure and mighty ideal has been buried and is pressed into the ground by the inhuman void of money. Nick Caraway conveys this message as an outsider, an honest man who is witnessing the entire ordeal as an observer. The Great Gatsby is not the tribute of a name named Jay Gatsby; rather, it is the tribute of an institution which once was, but is now gone and can never be.
Fitzgerald, Scott F. The Great Gatsby. Simon and Schuster, New York. 1925.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Jay Gatsby as Tragic Hero of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby According to Aristotle, there are a number of characteristics that identify a tragic hero: he must cause his own downfall; his fate is not deserved, and his punishment exceeds the crime; he also must be of noble stature and have greatness. These are all characteristics of Jay Gatsby, the main character of Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby is a tragic hero according to Aristotle's definition. Jay Gatsby is an enormously rich man, and in the flashy years of the jazz age, wealth defined importance.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays Fitzgerald]
970 words (2.8 pages)
- Daisy in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald Throughout the novel The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the character of Daisy Buchanan undergoes many noticeable changes. Daisy is a symbol of wealth and of promises broken. She is a character we grow to feel sorry for but probably should not. Born Daisy Fay in Louisville, Kentucky, Daisy was always the princess in the tower, the golden girl that every man dreamed of possessing. ?She dressed in white, and had a little white roadster, and all the day long the telephone rang in her house and excited young officers from Camp Taylor demanded the privilege of monopolizing her that night,.... [tags: Great Gatsby Fitzgerald Essays]
1300 words (3.7 pages)
- Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby and the 20s After a time of prosperity, the roaring 1920’s became a decade of social decay and declining moral values. The forces this erosion of ethics can be explained by a variety of theories. However, F. Scott Fitzgerald paints a convincing portrait of waning social virtue in his novel, The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald portrays the nefarious effects of materialism created by the wealth-driven culture of the time. This was an era where societal values made wealth and material possessions a defining element of one’s character.... [tags: Fitzgerald Great Gatsby Essays]
1784 words (5.1 pages)
- Themes in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby The American Dream On first glance, The Great Gatsby is about a romance between Gatsby and Daisy. The true theme behind this wonderful novel is not merely romance, but is also a very skeptical view of the extinction of the American dream in the prosperous 19s. This loss of the American dream is shown by Fitzgerald's display of this decade as a morally deficient one. He shows its incredible decadence in Gatsby's lavish and ostentatious parties. This materialistic attitude toward life came from the disillusionment of the younger generation of the old Victorian values.... [tags: Great Gatsby Fitzgerald]
745 words (2.1 pages)
- The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald Although to the casual reader The Great Gatsby may only appear as a poetic muse on the seemingly endless rollercoaster that is love, if one plunges deeper into this novel it is easily discovered that not only is this the quintessential grail quest but it is quite plainly a search for the American dream. Gatsby plays a duel role in this piece of American history; he is both the Holy Crusader, seeking his own personal Cup of Christ, and the Cinderella story of Fitzgerald's masterpiece.... [tags: Great Gatsby Fitzgerald American Dream]
1197 words (3.4 pages)
- The Truly Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald Hopes and dreams are needed to give man's efforts a meaning, or a purpose. Pushing towards some ideal is how man can feel a sense of his own identity. In the novel The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a man with tremendous and "infinite hope" (Fitzgerald, 6). To be able to accomplish a life long dream, one must have strong determination that can in no way be weakened by any obstacles one might face. It is the hope of achieving your dream that keeps you from wandering away from it and guides you to the right path.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays Fitzgerald Papers]
863 words (2.5 pages)
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby The greatness of an individual can be defined in terms far beyond tangible accomplishments. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby's greatness comes from his need to experience success and his will to achieve his dreams. Nick Carraway narrates the story, and his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, is Gatsby's love. Daisy, however, is married to Tom Buchanan, a wealthy, arrogant womanizer who despises Gatsby. Gatsby feels the need to be successful and wealthy, and his participation in a bootlegging operation allows him to acquire the wealth and social status needed to attract Daisy.... [tags: Fitzgerald Great Gatsby Essays]
1427 words (4.1 pages)
- The 1920s was a time of excess and growth. Economically, it was a time for great financial gain. Largely because of improvements in technology, productivity increased while overall production costs decreased, and the economy grew. Not only was this time filled with prosperity, but corruption as well. People who had previously worked day and night finally acquired leisure time. Some of the most wealthy people made the choice to fill this free time with gluttony and lust. Many authors during this time believed that the excessive spending and consumption would surely lead to ruin.... [tags: Fitzgerald Great Gatsby]
971 words (2.8 pages)
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Throughout time and space the world has seen many writers that have altered life as we know it. The world continues to change as an ever shifting ball of culture and intellect. Man's history has given us writers like Shakespeare, who is still misunderstood to this day, and Homer, a man that has many Americans thinking of a cartoon character with the a lack of intelligence. Francis Scott Fitzgerald is far from one of these gentlemen, or ladies, that have changed the way we think.... [tags: Great Gatsby Fitzgerald]
1400 words (4 pages)
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Any American is taught a dream that is purged of all truth. The American Dream is shown to the world as a belief that anyone can do anything; when in reality, life is filled with impossible boundaries. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald gives us a glimpse into the life of the upper class during the roaring twenties through the eyes of a moralistic young man named Nick Carraway. It is through the narrator's dealings with the upper class that the reader is shown how modern values have transformed the American Dream's pure ideals into a scheme for materialistic power, and how the world of the upper class lacks any sense of morals or conseq... [tags: Fitzgerald Great Gatsby]
1467 words (4.2 pages)