American Dream

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Corruption of the American Dream
The American dream is an ideal that has been discreetly present since the beginning of American literature. Commonly, the dreamer aspires to rise from rags to riches, while accumulating such things as love, high status, wealth, and power. The early dream of acquiring western land has quickly and efficiently morphed into a vision of materialistic assets. In the past century, the American dream has increasingly focused on large houses, cars, and expensive gadgets as an indication of attaining success. Throughout the novel, The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses the West and East egg community to demonstrate how the dream has become corrupted by one’s focus on wealth and material possessions.

Jay Gatsby himself is a grand beholder of the besmirched dream. His American dream has become corrupted by the culture of wealth and opulence, both in which are greatly distributed within the East and West Egg community. Gatsby states, ‘"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had."’ Gatsby speaks to Nick about his father and how he was fortunate enough to reach the American dream. As a man who started with nothing, Gatsby is the symbolic figure for the many Americans who strive to have an aspiring life and succeed Sellner1

upon their desires. Gatsby, once a “nouveau riche” was greatly changed through the wealth he seeked and the riches he produced. His original goal of earning Daisy’s love was eventually absent. Her voice was “full of money…that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, and the cymbals’ song in it” (127). Even Gatsby’s thoughts of Daisy have been clouded by money. However, Gatsby is too late to realize that money is the only thing her voice promises. There is no compassion in Daisy, just as there is none in cold, hard cash; therefore concluding that the American dream has become corrupted....
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