Disillusionment of Gatsby’s” American Dream"
in The Great Gatsby
The disillusionment of the American Dream is a frequent but important written theme in the American literature. Fitzgerald’s famous book The Great Gatsby is one of the most important representative works that reflects this theme. F. Scott Fitzgerald is best known for his novels and short stories which chronicle the excesses of America's Jazz Age during the 1920s. His classic twentieth-century story of Jay Gatsby examines and critiques Gatsby's particular vision of the 1920's American Dream. The Great Gatsby can be seen as a far-reaching book that has revealed many serious and hidden social problems at that time. As one of the most popular and financially successful American novelists at that time, Fitzgerald gains his fame of the ‘simultaneous lyricist and demystifier of the American dream’. Gatsby, the tragic hero of this great book, uses all his lifetime to pursue wealth, wishing to use money to buy his “love dream” back. However, in the end, his “love dream” has been merciless crashed by that cruel society and the selfish and malicious people. Through this book, Fitzgerald uses his own language to reveal the darkness and vanity of American society, to illustrate the cruel and selfish nature of the American people, and to show the disillusionment of American Dream at that time. This paper is designed to analyze and reveal the true nature and Gatsby’s disillusionment of the American Dream, through the thorough and careful analysis of the novel The Great Gatsby. As we all know, since 1920s, the essence of the traditional American Dream has been thoroughly changed in the USA, as society and economics develop quickly. During the World War I, America is the only country in western world that does not involve in this devastated war. And because of this war, America immediately becomes wealthy and prosperous for selling arms to the involved countries. After the World War I, America has entered an era of extremely economic prosperity and material affluence. However, at the same time, America of the 1920s is full of the moral degeneration. All over America is overflowing with spiritual and material empty. The younger generation, after returning from the war, has begun to feel that the Victorian moral concepts and standards are very hypocritical. They begin to be lost, dreaming of suddenly being millionaires in one night. The temptation of money attracts people’s eyes. The 1920s’s American society can be described as full of lavishness and extravagance. Therefore, the pursuit of money has gradually been the mainstream of that time, because the wealth dream can fulfill people’s great desire. As the result, the initial American Dream has also been changed from the essence as the time goes by. The initial American Dream inspires people to work hard and be successful through diligence. However, in the 1920s, this dream has been changed into crazy pursuit of money through all kinds of ways, even illegal ways. Under Fitzgerald’ hands, Gatsby is depicted as the great American character. He is the American self-made man. He strongly believes in the American Dream of being wealthy. Therefore, he uses illegal ways to become wealthy, because he thinks money is all he needs and wants. However, although Gatsby has fulfilled this dream and want to use his money to win his love back, he is finally betrayed by the same dream. Wishing to enter the upper class society, Gatsby, whose real name is James Gatz, the son of poor middle-western farmers, invented another identity of high education and good origin for him. Later, Gatsby says he worked in the drugstore and oil businesses, omitting the fact that he is involved in illegal bootlegging. Gatsby keeps his criminal activities mysterious throughout the novel, preferring to play the role of a perpetually gracious host. Fitzgerald has depicted Gatsby’s parties in details. From those words, we can sense how lavish and...
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