Essay PreviewMore ↓
The American Constitution declares the freedom and equality among all people. On this declaration was built the collective dreams of a nation as well as millions of personal dreams. F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, exposes the American Constitution for the myth that it always was by revealing the existing class distinctions. The Great Gatsby provides the petty details of the aimlessness and shallowness of the idyll rich, the extravagance of their parties, and the illegal sources of the funds that fueled such mindless activities.
Myrtle's attempt to become a "member" of Tom's group is predestined to fail, because he is of the wealthier, more "sophisticated" class. Taking advantage of her animation, her lively nature, she tries to elude the rest of her class. She gets involved in an affair with Tom, and inherits his values, and his way of living. By doing so, she only demoralizes herself, and becomes corrupt like the rich are stereotyped to be. She belittles people from her own class, and loses all sense of honor that she once had. And for all her social desires, Myrtle never does find her place in Tom's "high brow" world of the rich.
Fitzgerald portrays Myrtle's condition, obviously, as a minor reflection to Gatsby's more substantial struggle. While Myrtle's ambitions come from her social desires, Gatsby's are linked more to his idealism, his strong belief in life's opportunity. For sure, his desire is influenced by social considerations as well; Daisy, who is beautiful and rich, shows a lifestyle that is distant to Gatsby's and therefore is more attractive to him, because it is so far out of his reach.
However, social status is not his premier reason for loving Daisy. It only leads him, and makes him subject to believe in life's great opportunity. Like Myrtle does, Gatsby fights to fit himself into another social group, the one of old money, but his attempt is more significant, because his whole faith in life is rested upon it. Therefore, his failure is much more frightful to him, as any larger dream's failure turns out to be. His whole objective, his confidence in life and himself is completely smashed when he fails to win Daisy's love. His death, when it arrives is nearly meaningless, for, with the defeat of his dream, Gatsby is already spiritually murdered, and would lose all faith in life.
How to Cite this Page
"gatdream Exploding the American Myth in The Great Gatsby." 123HelpMe.com. 28 Jan 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Great Gatsby - Seeking the Unattainable Dream What is the American Dream. America has evolved from an infant, struggling, nation to become a world power through its unprecedented economic growth. Driven by the tenets of independence, self reliance, and freedom, Americans have had the opportunity to pursue economic success. To many, this is the American Dream; to have freedom and the opportunity to pursue financial freedom. To others, such as Gatsby, Walter, and Jake, the American dream is happiness.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]
1545 words (4.4 pages)
- Blurry Dreams in The Great Gatsby The American Dream is a path people set out upon in order to achieve a goal, usually pertaining to the acquirement of stability and security. The dreams of these people were followed through with strong hope and perseverance. Yet, during the period of the 1920's, this dream was obstructed by the need for materialistic power. Scott Fitzgerald portrays this destruction of the American Dream through the main character, Jay Gatsby, in his novel The Great Gatsby.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]
745 words (2.1 pages)
- The Great Gatsby - Trading Life for a Dream What is life. Life embodies ones dreams mixed in with successes and most importantly, love. Following this definition, Jay Gatsby lives a fulfilling existence while Nick stays put and ordinary like stagnant water. Life is full of risks and Gatsby risks his life for love and happiness. Even though he did lose his life, he didn't pay too high a price for living too long a single and farfetched dream of true love. Gatsby is the epitome of the American Dream, "his brown, hardening body lived naturally through the half fierce, half lazy work of the bracing days...as a clam digger and a salmon fisher." (104) From this Gatsby beca... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]
901 words (2.6 pages)
- The Great Gatsby and the American Dream Everyone wants to be successful in life, but most often people take the wrong ways to get there. In the 1920’s the American Dream was something that everyone struggled to have. A spouse, children, money, a big house and a car meant that someone had succeeded in life. A very important aspect was money and success was determined greatly by it. This was not true in all cases however. The belief that every man can rise to success no matter what his beginnings.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]
2340 words (6.7 pages)
- The American Dream The American Dream was the philosophy that brought people to America and to start a new life in a strange, foreign land. Due to this dream, it was believed that America was the land of opportunity, wealth, and prosperity. The dream consists of three components: all men are equal, man can trust and should help his fellow man, and the good, virtuous and hard working are rewarded. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is a condemnation of American Society and focuses on its downfall.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]
842 words (2.4 pages)
- Death of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby The American Dream embodies the belief that each person can succeed in life on the basis of his own skills and effort. This idea awakes and develops during the 18th and 19th centuries - a period of fast development in the United States. The issues of growth, progress and money become a major theme in American society, which is why Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby focuses on this problem. Through the characters Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby, the author impressively presents a failure in achieving this dream.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]
813 words (2.3 pages)
- The Great Gatsby: Just Dream It. In Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, all the characters are, in one way or another, attempting to achieve a state of happiness in their lives. The main characters are divided into two groups: the rich upper class and the poorer lower class, which struggles to attain a higher position. Though the major players seek only to change their lives for the better, the American Dream is inevitably crushed beneath the harsh reality of life, leaving their lives without meaning or purpose.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]
890 words (2.5 pages)
- Corruption of the Dream in The Great Gatsby The American Dream describes an attitude of hope and faith that looks forward to the fulfillment of human wishes and desires. What these wishes are, were expressed in Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence of 1776, where it was stated: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]
725 words (2.1 pages)
- Casting Doubt Upon the American Dream in The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby' is set in the Jazz Age of America, the 1920s which have come to be seen as a bubble of extravagance and affluence which burst with the Wall Street Crash in 1929. Fitzgerald wrote the book in 1925, and in it he explores the fundamental hollowness which characterized the Age as he saw it, and casts doubt upon the very core of American national identity - the American Dream. The American Dream is a concept elegantly simple and yet peculiarly hard to define.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]
942 words (2.7 pages)
- The American Dream is Alive and Well in 2002 "...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.... [tags: Great Gatsby Essays]
1241 words (3.5 pages)
- Character of Nick Carroway in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
- Free Great Gatsby Essays: Criticism of American Society
- The Evil of Colonialism and Imperialism in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
- gatdream F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby - Just Dream It!
- The Characters of Tom and Daisy of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- gattom Great Gatsby Essays: The Character of Tom Buchanan
For the novel as a social critique, The Great Gatsby is a critique on moral decay in contemporary American society. The idea of corruption of values and the decrease in spiritual life, is directly tied in with the American Dream. The novel brings forth the idealism of the early settlers who founded America.
Fitzgerald relates Gatsby's dream to the early Americans; at the end of the novel, Nick recalls the former Dutch sailors and compares their strong sense in wonder and Gatsby's optimism.
The story also brings out a good point, that Americans lose their purpose in life as material achievements delete all meaningful goals. The Buchanans are great characters to choose to represent this point. Their sheltered lives, filled with material possessions and luxuries, yet empty of purpose proves how people with all the material needs, tend to lose sight on what is truly important in life. Daisy's lamentation is very characteristic of this:
"What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon? And the day after that, and
the next thirty years?" (Fitzgerald 125)
Fitzgerald clarifies that 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. Obviously, Jay Gatsby, with the great gift of hope, placed in comparison to the aimlessness of Tom and Daisy, reaches heroic nobility. It is also said that the corruption of dreams, the corruption of the American Dream itself, is inescapable, not only because reality is never the same as the greatness of ideals, but because, the ideals are too perfect to become a reality. Gatsby is naive in that he dreams the impossible, he attempts to repeat the past, setting himself up for the predestined failure that inevitably comes with great expectations.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. England: Penguin, 1990.
Lehan, Richard. "The Grotesque End Product of the American Dream." In Readings on The Great Gatsby. edited by Katie de Koster. San Diego, California:
Greenhaven Press. 1998. 104-110.
Rowe, Joyce A. "Delusions of American Idealism." In Readings on The Great Gatsby. edited by Katie de Koster. San Diego, California: Greenhaven Press. 1998. 87-95.