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The Defunct American Dream

The roaring twenties were a time of prosperity, parties, gangsters, jazz, speakeasies, and scientific inventions. Since the conception of F. Scott Fitzgeralds Great Gatsby have we really changed as a nation? Why yes we say, we have sent a man to the moon, improved air travel and education, we nearly perfected nuclear energy, and computers now do the work of a thousand men. Today, many things are different aesthetically, but our behaviors as a nation still remain the same.

If we turned the clock back to the early 1920s, and reviewed the conduct of our late president Warren G. Harding, we would see hat Harding was very well known for his extramarital affairs, just as Bill Clinton is very well known for his in the 1990s. We no longer have gangsters controlling illegal sales of whiskey; we have ganstas controlling illegal sales of crack cocaine. Success in the twenties was measured by wealth and how you acquired it. Success in the nineties measured in nearly the same way, as we all know its whom you know and what part of town youre from.

In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald tells a magnificent story, and the reader soon realizes that the American Dream is defunct, just as it was back n the infamous roaring twenties. The American Dream believes that each person has the ability to take himself from rags to riches if he works hard enough. There are rules to the American Dream, bootlegging was not the politically correct way of becoming wealthy. When the reader meets Jay Gatsby, he lives in an extravagant mansion just outside New York with everything anyone could ever want.

Jay has servants, nice cars, private beaches, a plane, beautiful gardens, and money that appears to grow on trees. He throws enormous parties to show off his wealth, with only one purpose. Gatsby wanted to attract the attention of his long lost love Daisy, who lives just across the sound. Gatsby feels that his newly made money will win her back, as he didnt have enough money to keep her years ago. Fitzgerald uses colors to reveal essential ideas to the reader.

For example, when we meet Daisy for the first time, she is wearing a white dress; (14) white is usually associated with something pure, like that of a wedding dress. We also meet Jordan Baker at the same time. Jordans eyes are described as grey and sun-strained (15) grey can sometimes be associated death. Spiritually Ms. Baker is dead; nothing matters to her except money. This remains true to nearly every character in the story. Upon our introduction to Jordan Baker we also find out what kind of a person she is. Im stiff, she complained.

Ive been lying on that sofa for as long as I can remember. Fitzgerald used this quote to inform the reader what to anticipate from her character in the future. This holds true, as she is a very untruthful person, Jordan lies about leaving some ones convertible out in the rain, and is hypocritical when it comes to her driving careless. Just after her near wreck, she comments to Nick Carraway, the narrator of the story, that she hates careless people. (63) We also realize that the color green is probably the most important in the novel, as it could represent the money the power it has in society.

Gatsby has a large green lawn with green ivy going up his house. These things represent the riches and the importance of the almighty dollar in Gatsbys life. The color green also tells us that Jay is new to his money, just as a green apple is new to the tree. However Gatsbys American Dream was not money and wealth, it was Daisy, and he ad to have his money to get to his dream. East Egg and West Egg are the two small communities that Gatsby and his beloved Daisy live. These two boroughs were directly across from each other separated by water on three sides.

The two Eggs were located just outside the Valley of Ashes, a poor community, half way between New York and the precious little Eggs. Fitzgerald places the three communities close to each other, to give the reader the contrast between the rich and the poor. Millionaires occupied both East and West Egg, with the exception of a few inferior souls. Nick Carraway, the narrator, lived amongst the rich, as a matter of fact, right next door to Gatsby. When Nick tells the story the reader feels that he is the author of the book.

When Nick reveals all of the events that happen, he hopes to portray that he is better than everyone else is. In the beginning he says, Im inclined to reserve all judgements.. We must realize that Nick is not faultless, as he judges people throughout the entire story. (5) If Nick were such a great person, then why was he the first to pass judgement on the man who wrecked his car leaving one of Gatsbys parties, in a drunken stupor? Well, if youre a poor driver you oughtnt to try driving at night.

Nick said. (59) F. Scott Fitzgerald tells this story to let the audience know that the moral values in America are going to hell in a hand basket. Tom Bucchannan, Daisys husband is having an affair with a woman named Myrtle who lives in The Valley of Ashes. Affairs were quite fashionable in those days, as they can be today. Fitzgerald uses Myrtle to make the poor look even worse, and to show that Myrtle wants to be part of the rich, no matter what the consequences. She allows Tom Buchannan to treat her badly, one afternoon in New York he even clubbed her in the face.

In the end of the novel, Daisy kills Myrtle, Myrtles husband kills Gatsby and then himself. Three people die for no reason, the characters are so wrapped up in their personal possessions and wealth, and they dont see what is really important. In the conclusion of this novel we see that Fitzgerald is trying to convey that the roaring twenties as he knew them would come to a screeching halt. He knew that this wonderful age of prosperity would not last forever, as every party would have an end, just as it did a beginning.

Fitzgerald was right, the Great Depression was right around the corner, and the big party during the roaring twenties would be over, just as Gatsbys big party ended. The American Dream was defunct, just as it will be again. If history repeats itself, and I believe it does, we should all take Fitzgeralds warning. Learn to grow spiritually, not becoming pre-occupied with materialistic things. We must remember that our party will be over someday too. I want my party to end peacefully, not wrapped up in the worldly possessions that I cant take with me anyway.

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