The Great Gatsby: The Demise of Two Dreams Essay

The Great Gatsby: The Demise of Two Dreams Essay

Length: 1209 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


     While there are numerous themes throughout the text of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the most prominent is that of the American Dream. The American Dream is the idea that any person, no matter what he or she is, or from where he or she has come, can become successful in life by his or her hard work; it is the idea that a self-sufficient person, an entrepreneur, can be a success. In this novel, however, it is the quest for this ‘dream’ (along with the pursuit of a romantic dream) that causes the ultimate downfall of Jay Gatsby.
     Throughout the book, Gatsby avoids the reality of his simple, difficult childhood in efforts to avoid the embarrassment of having lived in poverty during his youth. At the age of seventeen, Jay Gatsby changed his name from James Gatz, marking the beginning of his version of the American Dream. “His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people [and] his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all […] the truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself [when he] invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would” (104). And although masked for most of the story, Gatsby’s childhood provides a key source of determination in his endeavor of achieving the American Dream.
     During Gatsby’s early adulthood, he joined the army (where he first met Daisy). He initially loved her because of her extraordinary house and because many other men had already loved her. One evening in October, Gatsby fell in love with Daisy Fay, and in turn she fell in love with Gatsby. “[Daisy] was the first ‘nice’ girl that he had ever known” (155). Their love was uneasy at first but this uneasiness was lifted when he and Daisy fell in love, and he found that “she thought [he] knew a lot because [he] knew different things from her” (157). While their month of love was physically ended when Gatsby went abroad, their emotional love was not and Daisy, in her artificial world, could not understand why Gatsby could not come home; she wanted her love to be with her, she needed some assurance that she was doing the right thing. It was not long however, before Daisy fell in love with a wealthy, former All-American college football player named Tom Buchanan. Gatsby’s heart was br...


... middle of paper ...


...s romantic dream was dead, his American Dream remained alive and beaming. He still had everything going for him; he had his youth, money, and personality. He was morally superior to his fellow East Eggers and Nick acknowledged this when he told Gatsby that he was “worth the whole damn bunch put together” (162). To have it all taken away for something he had not done was the greatest misfortune of the entire novel and his death became even more disheartening at his funeral when, despite Nick’s efforts to make it respectable, only he, Gatsby’s father and servants, and one of Gatsby’s acquaintances attended. None of his ‘friends’, nor did the ‘love of his life’ come. Nick truly cared about Jay Gatsby as no one else did; he exemplified what a true friend is and did what only a friend would do for another. Daisy, however, did not seem to feel even a shred of sadness, or guilt, over Gatsby’s death which is apparent in her not attending his funeral and instead going away on a vacation with Tom. In the end, it was Gatsby’s strong desire for wealth and Daisy, his version of the American Dream, which proved to be the greatest reason for his grave downfall at the hands of a ruthless society.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- Pulling the wool over his audience’s eyes, F. Scott Fitzgerald has skillfully constructed his novel, The Great Gatsby, to be centered on what appears to be the tragedy that is Jay Gatsby. Falsely accredited as a tragic hero, Gatsby falls short of Aristotle’s definition. According to Aristotle, a hero must encompass a specific set of features: he must be of high standing/power, he engages in an act where he cannot do that which he must, his hamartia leads to his downfall, the audience experiences a catharsis due to his downfall, he then has an epiphany/enlightenment, and he must die....   [tags: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1410 words (4 pages)

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- The Great Dream Dreams can be a way of escaping reality. Dreams enable a motivating force that leads one to pursue unrealistic aspirations. Dreams distort and manipulate the world’s circumstances. They can be ever elusive and misleading; in turn leading one down the path of personal destruction and regret. Jay Gatsby has a dream. His romantic dream is not only “naïve, gaudy, and unattainable,” but also leads to his demise (Ornstein 34). Initially, F. Scott Fitzgerald portrays Gatsby’s dream of recapturing Daisy’s love as attainable and probable, however he later reveals that Gatsby’s dream will, in reality, not be realized....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1712 words (4.9 pages)

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- AS 91479 -- Hypothesis of The Great Gatsby Let’s get critical, critical. After reading and evaluating F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ I have found that while a cursory view of this text may seem to highlight the glorious lives of those richest and most powerful, a more comprehensive approach to this text is required to delve past the surface themes of thwarted love between a man and a woman, and into the deeper set themes such as moral demise. Fitzgerald claimed to be a moralist at heart, preaching about the degeneracy of the wealthy....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Strong Essays
2285 words (6.5 pages)

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- The American Dream inspires the tired, the poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free. It serves as the beacon of light for the oppressed or the determined to find wealth and opportunity in America. It was in the hopes and dreams of the old Dutch sailors, the revolutionary patriots, and in the youth who had witnessed the first World War. An archetype of the post World War I American literature, F. Scott Fitzgerald expressed in his writing the profound shift in values accompanied by the Dream in the 1920 's....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1068 words (3.1 pages)

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- Scott F Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby (1925), captures the idea about the lengths a person will go to too change their entire personality and background as they believed that the life they previously had was not their destiny and wanted to better themselves. The Great Gatsby is an example of when a character has met their demise due to their obsession on changing themselves to what they perceived as their ideal self. The self is what distinguishes you as a person. It’s your personality, identity and persona....   [tags: The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald]

Strong Essays
1839 words (5.3 pages)

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essays

- After the occurrence of World War I, the United States returned to its former self. A land full of financial and social opportunities for those willing to work hard, the American Dream. For many this was difficult. Striving and working towards this dream corrupted them. Many obtained their riches under the influence of pleasure. Fitzgerald’s characters in the Great Gatsby enjoy their lives in the 1920s presenting the void that results when pleasure and wealth become the ends in the people themselves....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1013 words (2.9 pages)

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essays

- “Three major symbols from The Great Gatsby, their meaning and how they function together to support a central theme.” The Great Gatsby is a parabolic love story that epitomises the fragmentation of the American dream in an era of social pandemonium and material excess. Written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the novel did not gain mainstream success until after the author’s death when the accuracy of his social commentary was fully recognised. Drawing inspiration from the author’s personal life, the story revolves around multiple upper-class individuals situated in Long Island, New York, most particularly the enigmatic and idealistic Jay Gatsby and intelligent societal onlooker Nick Carraw...   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1012 words (2.9 pages)

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- The Great Gatsby is possibly one of the greatest works of American literature within almost a century. F. Scott Fitzgerald captures the dazzling glitz and glamour of the roaring 1920s, along with the gritty corruption and insanity that happened behind the scenes. Between the lavish parties, glittery fashions, jazzy music, and even the outlawed alcohol, many people were determined to achieve the “American Dream,” or an individual person’s own version of what they believe to be living a happy and successful life....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1156 words (3.3 pages)

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerlad Essay example

- Everyone in America has their own American Dream. These dreams may vary from having a family or becoming a rich business person. The American dream was strongest in our country during the start of the 1920's. America was just beginning to triumph over poverty. People were becoming more successful as a country. Carrie Latet once said, "May I never wake up from the American dream." Along with Carrie, this was the wish of the vast majority of America. In 1929, the Great Depression hit and many Americans did have to wake up from their dream of success....   [tags: Essays on The Great Gatsby]

Strong Essays
834 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Illusion and Reality in The Great Gatsby

- Illusion and Reality in The Great Gatsby       The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a novel about one man's disenchantment with the American dream. In the story we get a glimpse into the life of Jay Gatsby, a man who aspired to achieve a position among the American rich to win the heart of his true love, Daisy Fay. Gatsby's downfall was in the fact that he was unable to determine that concealed boundary between reality and illusion in his life.    The Great Gatsby is a tightly structured, symbolically compressed novel whose predominant images and symbols reinforce the idea that Gatsby's dream exists on borrowed time....   [tags: The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald]

Strong Essays
1555 words (4.4 pages)