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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. This holds true for three of the main characters in the novel, Jay Gatsby, Tom Buchanan, and Daisy Buchanan.
To reach his ideal dream of spending his life with Daisy, Jay Gatsby attains his millions in a corrupt way which help him to replace emotions, and tries to cover it up with lies throughout the novel. In order to become rich, Gatsby engaged in illegal occupations such as bootlegging and being involved in the Mafia. “He and this Wolfsheim bought and sold grain alcohol over the counter.” (Fitzgerald 134). This is the opposite idea of the American Dream, which states that only the good, virtuous and hard working are rewarded. Gatsby also lies his way through life to conceal his wrongdoing. Gatsby claims that he belongs to a rich family whom provides his way to Oxford and from whom he inherits his riches. “’I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West-all dead now.’” (Fitzgerald 65). Only later on in the novel, does Nick uncover the truth that “his parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people...” (Fitzgerald 99). Gatsby also relies on money to bring him the comfort of family. Gatsby’s musicians sing, “The rich get richer and the poor get-children.” (Fitzgerald 96). He attempts to reclaim the loss of family that he experiences through his wealth. Nick describes a story about how Gatsby, “agreed to pay five years’ taxes on all the neighboring cottages if the owners would have their roofs thatched with straw. Perhaps their refusal took the heart out of his plan to Found a Family...” (Fitzgerald 89). Gatsby takes advantage of wealth to solve his problems.
Members of the upper class such as Tom Buchanan, sacrifice morals and righteousness in order to gain wealth. Tom Buchanan is a man from a wealthy family, yet to Nick; he seems to have lost virtue and kindness.
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All men are equal, man should trust and should help his fellow man, and the good, virtuous, and hard working are rewarded are the three parts that constitute The American Dream. Jay Gatsby, Tom Buchanan, and Daisy Buchanan, three main characters in The Great Gatsby, fail to pursue this dream and follow its entirety. Rather than complying with this dream, these three characters do the opposite, destroying the purpose for The Dream. They portray the ultimate failure of the American Dream in that individuals believe that wealth is everything.