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The Great Gatsby – The American Dream

The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is about the American Dream, and the downfall of those who attempt to capture its illusionary goals. This is a common them central to many novels. This dream has varying significances for different people but in The Great Gatsby, for Jay, the dream is that through wealth and power, one can acquire happiness. To get this happiness Jay must reach into the past and relive an old dream and in order to do this he must have wealth and power. Jay Gatsby, the central figure of the story, is a character who longs for the past.

Surprisingly he devotes most of his adult life trying to recapture it and, finally, dies in its pursuit. In the past, Jay had a love affair with the beautiful and seemingly innocent Daisy. Knowing he could not marry her because of the difference in their social status, he leaves her to accumulate his wealth to reach her economic and social standards. Once he acquires this wealth, he moves near to Daisy, “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay (83),” and throws extravagant parties, hoping by chance she might show up at one of them.

He, himself, does not attend his parties but watches them from a distance. When his hopes dont show true he asks around casually if anyone knows her. Soon he meets Nick Carraway, a cousin of Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting, “He wants to know…if you’ll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over (83). ” Gatsby’s personal dream symbolizes the larger American Dream where all have the opportunity to get what they want. Later, as we see in the Plaza Hotel, Jay still believes that Daisy loves him. He is convinced of this as is shown when he takes the blame for Myrtle’s death.

Was Daisy driving? ” “Yes…but of course I’ll say I was. ” (151) He also watches and protects Daisy as she returns home. “How long are you going to wait? ” “All night if necessary. ” (152) Jay cannot accept that the past is gone and done with. Jay is sure that he can capture his dream with wealth and influence. He believes that he acted for a good beyond his personal interest and that should guarantee success. Nick attempts to show Jay the flaw of his dream, but Jay innocently replies to Nicks statement that the past cannot be relived by saying, “Cant repeat the past?

Why of course you can! (116). This shows the confidence that Jay has in reviving his relationship with Daisy. For Jay, his American Dream is not material possessions, although it may seem that way. He only comes into riches so that he can fulfill his true dream, Daisy. Gatsby doesn’t rest until his dream is finally lived. However, it never comes about and he ends up paying the ultimate price for it. The idea of the American Dream still holds true in today’s time, be it wealth, love, or fame.

But one thing never changes about the American Dream; everyone desires something in life, and everyone, somehow, strives to get it. A big house, nice cars, 2. 5 kids, a dog, a beautiful devoted spouse, power and a ridiculous amount of money. That is the classical American Dream, at least for some. One could say, an outsider perhaps, that Americans strive for the insurmountable goal of perfection, live, die and do unimaginable things for it, then call the product their own personal American Dream. Is having the American Dream possible? What is the American Dream?

There is one answer for these two questions: The American Dream is tangible perfection. In reality, even in nature, perfection does not exist. Life is a series of imperfections that can make living really great or very unpleasant. Living the American Dream is living in perfection, and that by definition is not possible, thus deflating our precious American Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald proves this fact in The Great Gatsby, through his scintillating characters and unique style. Characters in books often mirror the authors feelings towards the world around them.

In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald suggested the moral decline of the period in American history through the interpersonal relationships among his characters. The situations in the lives of the characters show the worthlessness of materialism, the futile quest of Myrtle and Gatsby, and how America s moral values had diminished- through the actions of Daisy, Tom, Jordan, and Gatsbys party guests. Despite his newly acquired fortune, Gatsby still cannot afford his one true wish, therefore he cannot buy everything which is important to Daisy. “..

Their love is founded upon feelings from the past, these give it, notwithstanding Gatsbys insistence on being able to repeat the past , an inviolability. It exists in the world of money and corruption but is not of it. ” (Lewis 48 ) In the novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses the uses of literary technique of symbolism to reflect what life in the 1920s was like, through Fitzgeralds eyes. The image of Doctor T. J. Eckleburgs eyes is used to signify an ever watchful godlike figure.

“Just as Wilson comes halfconsciously to identify the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg with God, so the reader gradually becomes aware of them as representing some kind of detached intellect, brooding gloomily over life in the bleak waste land surrounding it, and presiding fatalistically over the little tragedy enacted as if in sacrifice before it. ” (Miller 36) The eyes not only symbolize a godlike being but also Fitzgerald himself and his negative views of 1920s society. Fitzgeralds negative views of society are society are also portrayed through his depiction of certain guests at Gatsbys parties.

The symbol of the two women dressed identically in yellow at Gatsbys party represent the values of the people of the 20s. The two women meet Jordan and Nick at Gatsbys party and are completely selfinvolved. These women are only concerned with what happens to them and the fun that they have at the parties and dont even inquire the names of Jordan and Nick who they are so openly speaking with. “Do you come to these parties often? inquired Jordan of the girl beside her. The last one was the one I met you at, answered the girl in an alert, confident voice.

She turned to her companion: Wasnt it for you Lucille? It was for Lucille too. I like to come, Lucille said I never care what I do, so I always have a good time. ” (Fitzgerald 47) Lucille admits that her general attitude toward life is that she does not care what she does as long as she has a good time. Her entire motivation in her life is to enjoy herself. When all she was asked was if she came to the parties often she also felt the need to inform the rest of the guests of her trivial anecdote. The reason that these women are indicative of the generation is because of their selfabsorbed characters and egotistical nature.

Also, the food served at Gatsbys parties symbolize the attitudes of most people living in the 1920s. At Gatsbys parties, most of the food was just show and no one really ate it. People display Large amounts of expensive food at parties to subtly remind the guests how much money they have, which is exactly what Gatsby did and the food was wasted. This incredible wastefulness is representative of people who lived in the 20s. They were so extremely wasteful because they assumed with all they had gone through, they deserved to be.

After so many years of being unhappy and repressed from, among other things World War I, they thought it was okay to become carefree when indeed it was not. Through Fitzgeralds use of symbolism to describe the costumed characters of the 20s the reader can learn to constantly and conscientiously examine the people that they surround themselves with. The novel also teaches the lesson of being true to ones self and following ones own personal dream, not the one Americans are programmed to have. Fitzgerald is not only a consequential author but and effective moral adviser.

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StudyBoss » The Great Gatsby – The American Dream

The Great Gatsby – The American Dream

Scott Fitzgerald: The Apprentice Fiction, Fitzgeralds ultimate subject is the character of the American Dream in which, in their respective ways, his principle heroes are all trapped. , can be justified through Scott Fitzgeralds novel The Great Gatsby and his short story Winter Dreams. In both pieces of literature, Fitzgerald explores and comments upon Americans and their pursuit of the American Dream through Jay Gatsby and Dexter Greens pursuit of their golden girls. Fitzgerald shows that the American Dream is not easily achieved by giving each leading man obstacles in the pursuit of their golden girl.

Both Jay Gatsby and Dexter Green face many obstacles while trying to win their golden girl. For example, Jay Gatsby is faced with the fact that he was not rich enough to be a prospect for Daisy when they were younger. By giving Gatsby this obstacle Fitzgerald is showing the reader that the road to achieving the American Dream is not smooth and not easily traveled. In addition, in Dexter Greens quest to win Judy Jones he is faced with the fact that she is promiscuous and loses interest in men easily.

Fitzgerald is commenting upon the fact that the Americans search for the American Dream and that the American Dream doesnt come to the American. You have to work for the American Dream, it is not simply acquired. Fitzgerald, through both his novel and short story, comments upon the obstacles that accompany pursuing the American Dream. It is evident in The Great Gatsby and in Winter Dreams that Americans will do practically anything necessary to achieve their American Dream, just as Gatsby and Green have done anything to win their golden girls.

For example, Dexter Green, although he has been hurt and abandoned by Judy Jones several times, broke his engagement with another woman as soon as Judy Jones stated she wanted to marry him. Fitzgerald is showing the reader that Americans will do anything, no matter how much theyve experienced suffering because of it. Through Green, Fitzgerald shows that the American Dream is the most important thing to an American once theyve decided to achieve it. Furthermore, Gatsby becomes a gangster and lives an empty life with lavish parties.

Gatsby does all this because Fitzgerald wants to show how much an American will change their lives to achieve the dream. Gatsbys suffering of an entire lifetime is just to win Daisy, which shows that an American is able to suffer lifetimes of hardships and low points in hopes of one day having the American Dream. Fitzgerald, through the actions of Gatsby and Green, comments upon the unlimited things that an American in pursuit of the American Dream will do. Fitzgerald also shows his readers how Americans in pursuit of the American Dream live only for that purpose.

For example, Gatsby lives and builds his whole life in pursuit of Daisy. He tries his whole life to relive the past in hopes that one day he will be good enough for Daisy and be able to have her. Fitzgerald is showing the reader how much of an Americans life is revolved around the American Dream. That Americans dont simply try to achieve the dream but use any means necessary to do it. In addition, Green finds out that Judy no longer has the spark and life that he admired and loved so much, Long Ago, he said, long ago, there was something in me, but now that thing is gone.

Green is saying that he is empty now because he knows that he can no longer have Judy, the Judy that he loved and knew. Fitzgerald is showing how an American lives their entire life for The American Dream and when they lose that, there is nothing left for them because their entire lives have revolved around having The American Dream. Through Gatsbys choices and Greens losses, Fitzgerald is able to show the reader the importance of the American Dream and how Americans make them life long goals.

Bewley was correct in accessing Fitzgeralds work, such as the novel The Great Gatsby and the short story Winter Dreams, as being reflections of Americans and their pursuit of The American Dream. Fitzgerald clearly comments upon that through his main characters, The Great Gatsbys Jay Gatsby and Dexter Green in Winter Dreams, and their pursuits of their golden girls, Daisy and Judy Jones. Fitzgerald displays how hard it is to achieve it, the importance of it and how people will do almost anything to achieve it, and how Americans revolve much of their lives around their pursuit of The American Dream.

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