The Great Gatsby: The Decline of The American Dream Essay

The Great Gatsby: The Decline of The American Dream Essay

Length: 1066 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The pursuit of the American Dream has been alive for generations. People from nations all over the world come to America for the chance to achieve this legendary dream of freedom, opportunity, and the “all American family”. However, in the 1920’s this dream began to take a different form. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, unfolds what the American Dream really meant during the roaring 20’s. The Great Gatsby tells a story of the affluent Jay Gatsby and his dream of attaining the love of the married Daisy Buchanan. In this novel, Gatsby’s dream of love is unmasked and reviled as a dream of materialistic things. Fitzgerald shows that each character truly glorifies only money, power, and social stature. During the 1920’s, these things were the only thing people dreamt about. The symbolism in The Great Gatsby illustrates how the American Dream became corrupt in the 1920’s.

Fitzgerald has an amazing talent to create symbols for things that could be overlooked by any reader such as colors. Every color mentioned has a meaning even if it may not seem it. White and green are the main colors mentioned in the novel. White can often be portrayed as wholesome and innocent. However, in this novel white actually represents the false purity or decency in some of these characters. Daisy Buchanan and Jordan Baker, a friend of Daisy’s, are always seen wearing something white. Daisy and Jordan both seem as if they are sweet and innocent at first, but deep down you see it is only and act and they are truly careless and selfish. Gatsby also wore white on his first meeting with Daisy after five years so that he would appear to be good and pure. The 1920’s also had this way of deception. The fads such as jazz, fashion and art all made the 1920’...

... middle of paper ...

... Gatsby’s dream of winning Daisy embodied the American Dream in the 20’s. Gatsby, as well as everyone in the 20’s, only dreamt of the materialistic in life and it didn’t matter how it was achieved. When talking about Gatsby, Nick says, “If that was true he must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream.” (Fitzgerald 161). This quote explains that it’s sad that one man only had one dream that he paid high prices for and never got it. Fitzgerald shows that in the 1920’s people only had one dream of power no matter what it took, and in the end it was never attained because of the selfishness of their dream. Through Fitzgerald’s symbolism, it is shown that the American Dream in the 1920’s was corrupt and fell apart.

Work Cited

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

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Decline Of The American Dream Essay example

- Cody Liu Mrs. Kelly GT English 11 13 March 2016 The Decline of the American Dream The 1920s were a time of profound change for many Americans. The American dream was the quintessential goal of the 1920s because it was, and still is, the ideal perception that an individual can achieve prosperity in life regardless of family, background, or social status. The era, however, was full of greediness, dishonesty, and temporary pursuit of contentment. This lead to the decline of the American dream because people based it all on materialistic possessions and not on the other aspects of the American dream such as honesty and love....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1387 words (4 pages)

Fitzgerald's Exploration of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby Essay

- Fitzgerald's Exploration of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is a one of the best stories written during a chaotic period in our nation’s history, The Jazz Age. The Twenties were a time of social experiments, self-indulgence, and dissatisfaction for majority of Americans. Fitzgerald depicts all these characteristics throughout the novel with his interesting themes, settings, and characters. The most elaborate and symbolic character Fitzgerald presents to his readers is Jay Gatsby....   [tags: The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald Essays]

Strong Essays
705 words (2 pages)

The American Dream : The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- The Tainted American Dream     America, known as the land of the free; where opportunity and prosperity are just waiting to be discovered. Where the hope and promise of a better tomorrow, wait around every corner from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the serene living of Buford, Wyoming. Merriam-Webster’s definition of the “American Dream” is “a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and becoming successful.”  Anyone, regardless of their circumstances of birth or socioeconomic status, with enough hard work and determination can achieve this “American Dream”....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1259 words (3.6 pages)

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- ... Secondly, Nick describes an El Greco like scene in which "four solemn men in dress suits are walking along the sidewalk with a stretcher on which lies a drunken woman in a white evening dress"(Fitzgerald 167). The drunken woman is wearing white to symbolise the former purity of the rich and now what they have turned into through the muddling of the nouveaux riche. The rich are now known as the drunks of the world who party all the time and who are slowly passing out of high fashion. Lastly, Nick describes that on Gatsby 's "white steps an obscene word, scrawled by some boy with a piece of brick" was found by him (Fitzgerald 179)....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1175 words (3.4 pages)

The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- ... His depiction on the Jazz Age 1920’s is symbolises an era in American History, that Fitzgerald describes as the decline of social and moral values and the corruption of the American dream. The Great Gatsby is written as a social commentary it addresses themes such as justice, power, greed, betrayal, the American dream of disparity between social classes and American societies greed and decay of the “American dream”. Nick Carraway is our first-person narrator, but he 's not the centre of the story—and that makes him a peripheral narrator, someone who 's always on the outside looking in....   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Strong Essays
1012 words (2.9 pages)

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Essay

- Research Paper In the book The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald demonstrates how people who seem to have wonderful lives because they are wealthy, can be selfish and poor in character. Those people lead to the decline of the American Dream for Gatsby. The 1920's was the age of prosperity on Long Island and that is why most people assumed that if you were rich and wealthy you had a good life. They also assumed that they had positive personalities. Fitzgerald proved them wrong. " One of the novel's dominant themes involves the decay of traditional American values in a suddenly prosperous society" (Howes)....   [tags: american dream, values, daisy]

Strong Essays
1361 words (3.9 pages)

Comparing the American Dream in Great Gatsby and Glass Menagerie Essay example

- The American Dream in The Great Gatsby and The Glass Menagerie For centuries, men and women from all over the world have seen in America a place where they could realize their dreams. We each dream our own American Dream. For some it is a vision of material prosperity, for others it can be a feeling of secure and safe. It can be the dream of setting goals. It can be about social justice, as Martin Luther King Jr. gave the speech of “I have a dream”, says, in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
1467 words (4.2 pages)

The Importance of George Wilson in The Great Gatsby Essay

- The Importance of George Wilson in The Great Gatsby     F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is a superbly written and an intrinsically captivating novel that deals with the decline of the American Dream and how vapid the upper class is. To illustrate and capture the essence of these themes, Fitzgerald uses characters Gatsby, who epitomizes the actual American Dream, and Daisy, who is based on the ideal girl. Yet, as these characters grasp the topics Fitzgerald wants to convey, there is something inherently like missing from the story as a whole....   [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]

Strong Essays
747 words (2.1 pages)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and the American Dream Essay

- The Great Gatsby and the American Dream      Webster's dictionary describes the American dream as the widespread aspiration of Americans to live better than their parents did.  F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby is a literary masterpiece that takes a fascinating look at the nature of the American dream that made its fiery inception during the American War of Independence 1776-83 when it became the central theme of the American Declaration of Independence.   In short, it stated, "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God, Creator, with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Hap...   [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]

Strong Essays
1462 words (4.2 pages)

The Great Gatsby: The American Dream Essay

- The Great Gatsby: The American Dream "Their love is founded upon feelings from the past, these give it, notwithstanding Gatsby's insistence on being able to repeat the past, an inviolability. It exists in the world of money and corruption but is not of it." The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is about the American Dream, and the demise of those who attempt to capture its false goals. For Jay, the dream is that, through wealth and power, one can obtain happiness....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
742 words (2.1 pages)