The Great Gatsby: The Decline of The American Dream Essay

The Great Gatsby: The Decline of The American Dream Essay

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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’...


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... 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.

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