Essay PreviewMore ↓
"...One Nation, under God, indivisible, with justice for all." Most Americans have heard and said this pledge to allegiance hundreds of times. The question is, do we really believe in the power of its meaning? It's a shame that America, land of the free, is also the land of capitalism, scandal and discrimination. Though we have the freedom to bear arms, freedom of speech, and freedom of religious and political affiliation, some Americans claim that they do not have the freedom to be themselves. Images from the media of aesthetic beauty and financial success bombard the majority of Americans on an everyday basis. It is only natural for one to attempt to 'improve' himself or herself by living up to the standards imposed by society. Unfortunately, America's brand of 'self-improvement' often comes with a price. I agree with the definition in Webster's College Dictionary of the American Dream: 'an American ideal of social equality and especially material success. Though the American Dream is very much alive for many, it is not necessarily well for most.
Ron Suskind, author of the national bestseller, A Hope in the Unseen, writes about the real-life story of Cedric Jennings. Jennings was a high school senior at a crime-infested school in Washington, D.C. Jennings beats the odds in Suskind's novel of the American struggle, and gains acceptance into Brown University (an Ivy League school). Jennings dealt with more than the average high school turmoil in his four years at Frank W. Ballou Senior High School. He couldn't even accept his award for a year of perfect grades in fear that his life would be threatened: "Pride and such accomplishment is acceptable behavior for sterling students at high schools across the land, but at Ballou and other urban schools like it, something else is at work" (Suskind 17). This is the crab in the bucket syndrome (a phrase coined by educators, Suskind explains) where one crab pulls the other crab down, and keeps them from climbing out of the bucket.
Though Cedric is aware of the jeers he receives from his classmates for his accomplishments, he continues to hold his head up high when he thinks of his "green light": to graduate from Ballou, and continue his education at an Ivy League school. As I read A Hope in the Unseen, I thought of the unfairness of the American ideal.
How to Cite this Page
"gatdream American Dream Alive and Well in Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby." 123HelpMe.com. 24 Jan 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald there is an unanswered question on who survives and who doesn’t. To survive, according to dictionary.com, is “to remain or continue in existence or use”. Although there are deaths, a character does not necessarily need to live in order to survive. Fitzgerald is not basing survival on life and death alone. Jay Gatsby, George Wilson and Myrtle Wilson all die in the book, but did the inner aspect of the characters fail to survive. Nick Carraway is a survivor in this novel.... [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]
977 words (2.8 pages)
- Although the novel, The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald tells the tragic love story between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, it also gives a perspective of the 1920’s. The 1920’s is known as an age of extreme social change. For example, it is in 1920’s the world war takes place. Other social changes include the idea of pursuing the American Dream. The American Dream is the dream of pursuing and achieving personal happiness and greatness of social status through hard work and determination. “The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it 's possible to achieve the American Dream” (Hilfiger).... [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]
1345 words (3.8 pages)
- The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby unravels in death and destruction due to one man’s need, for one girl. His admiration and ambition for this girl shows how the American dream can lead to so much havoc. Even though Gatsby has everything he wants, he still has a want for that girl. Fitzgerald does a wonderful job of expressing that through Gatsby and showing how a pursuit of that dream can lead to so much death and destruction. Fitzgerald shows how that American dream demands more than you have and causes harm to Gatsby and people around him.... [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]
767 words (2.2 pages)
- 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]
1013 words (2.9 pages)
- From its founding, America has been portrayed as the land of opportunity. We have been fed this idea of how wonderful it is and even though many have proved how hard it is to make it, many others work hard to keep the idea alive. The fact that we all believe in this idea keeps the idea going; the idea that is America. Through the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, and William Faulkner we have witnessed these characters working towards making it in America. America was founded on the idea of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.... [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]
1539 words (4.4 pages)
- For many, death could truly be the worst thing to happen. The theme of morality is explored thoroughly both literally and metaphorically throughout Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. While murder is certainly gruesome, it can also be a symbolic form of karma. The murder of Jay Gatsby, not that of Myrtle Wilson, is the greater crime. This is demonstrated using the presence of hope, for Gatsby unmaterialistic views while Myrtle suffers from the clouded view of false glamour. Tragedy offers another opportunity to explain how Jay Gatsby’s death was wrongfully served, whereas Myrtle’s death was payment for her sins.... [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]
1076 words (3.1 pages)
- Being a good friend sometimes means overlooking the obvious. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a novel set in the 1920s. It details the story of the narrator, Nick Carraway, an aspiring bondsman who has moved to the West Egg section of Long Island from Minnesota in search of business. Nick is considered a man of "new money." He has established and now manages his own riches. He meets a particularly mysterious man, his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Through Gatsby, he meets people from the East Egg of Long Island, who are considered to be of "old money," wealth or business that has been inherited through generations.... [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]
1071 words (3.1 pages)
- The book, The Great Gatsby, one of the greatest classics of all time, was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald attended Princeton University and wrote The Great Gatsby in 1925. After reaching success, he struggled with alcoholism and died at the young age of 44 years old. Fitzgerald was one of the most famous writers of the Jazz Age. The Jazz Age was when jazz music and dance became popular, and younger women took more risks compared to the older generation. They went to all-night parties, drove motor cars, smoked in public, and did more of their own thing.... [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]
1313 words (3.8 pages)
- The American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a brilliant illustration of life among the new rich during the 1920s, people who had recently amassed a great deal of wealth but had no corresponding social connections. The novel is an intriguing account about love, money and life during the 1920s in New York. It illustrates the society and the associated beliefs, values and dreams of the American population at that time. These beliefs, values and dreams can be summed up to what is termed the 'American Dream'; a dream of money, wealth, prosperity, and the happiness that supposedly came with the booming economy and the get-rich-quick s... [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald Great Gatsby]
1145 words (3.3 pages)
- 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)
Jennings knew, with a child-like assurance, that he could beat the odds and make it out of his crime-infested environment into the school of his dreams. However, one could argue that idealism can be the downfall of a person, no matter how hard they work. In a society where the quick and the swift get the prize, not the diligent worker who endures, the "hope in the unseen" can be frustrating. Those who study instead of hustle, sometimes get left behind. Jennings realized these points, but he still pursued his goal, and kept education first. Though he took the hard route, he made it to his destination.
Consequently there are those, such as Orenthal James Simpson, aka "O.J." Simpson who decided to use "superb athletic ability" as his ticket out of the ghetto. Though it is not just to look down on Simpson for the choices he's made throughout his life, it is necessary to pay close attention to Simpson's life struggles. At a young age Simpson started out on the wrong side of the tracks. He was caught up in gang fighting, petty offences, and his grades were not to be admired. Then Willie Mays, one of baseball's greatest, encouraged Simpson to use his football skills as an alternative to hanging out on the streets. Not only did football keep Simpson off the streets, but it took him into a new world, a world where ladies flocked to him after a game, men admired his rugged athletic appeal and young boys aspired to be like him. O.J.'s American Dream was that of the fast life, parties, and his "trophy wife", Nicole Brown (Walton 3). O.J. really did believe that he was invisible; he was wrong.
Many people came to O.J.'s parties, just as they did to Gatsby's but few took heed of the rumors or offered any sincere concern for him and his family. Simpson's party attendees were not there for him. They were only there for the always smiling, handsomely rugged Brentwood millionaire. Some may not see the harm in that. He achieved the American Dream of fame, fortune, and status. However, he did it at the cost of losing his identity. Sadly, no one ever noticed. It wasn't apparent to most of America that this young, troubled teenager from San Francisco had anything more relevant to say than the lines from the Hertz Rent-a-Car commercials: "We were like the crowds of Gatsby's parties who ignored the rumors of bootlegging and murder: who cares, and pass the champagne" (Walton 2).
Jay Gatsby, ostentatious yet admirable, lived his life based on money-money that he thought would buy his happiness, his "green light", Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby's capacity for fantasy only left him in a nightmare filled with scandal and murder. Like Cedric Jennings, and O.J. Simpson, Jay Gatsby lived on the border between innocence and immaturity, dream and reality. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, Gatsby reinvents himself. He changes his name, and seemingly changes his past. On some levels, most Americans have attempted, at some time or another to change themselves, whether changing their name, hair, or aspects of their personality.
Many Americans today have the same mentality that everything can be bought. However, people fail to see (just as Gatsby did) that that price is not always money. It is oftentimes the intangible, such as self-esteem, self-respect, and life itself. It is hard to say what the American Dream is. Everyone has his or her own perspective of the American Dream, and everyone has the right to accept it or not. However, it is nearly undisputable that people of America are being pulled by some unattainable dream. We are each (in our own way) to O.J. Simpson, Jay Gatsby and Cedric Jennings: "High-bouncing, gold-hatted lovers" (D' Invilliers), jumping higher and higher for acknowledgement, acceptance, and love.