Fitzgerald and the American Dream

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The American Dream was something most Americans shared in common with each other, although each person’s dream varied slightly from one another. Some saw wealth and fame, while some wanted to live a good life, Fitzgerald saw the American Dream very corrupted and broken. In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses different symbols throughout the novel to express his feelings concerning his view on the corrupted American Dream. The first examples are West Egg and East Egg. East Egg is the rich side of Long Island, where people lived more elegantly than wildly. East Egg represents the classic and the smooth part of Long Island. “Across the courtesy bay the white palaces of fashionable East Egg glittered along the water...” (Fitzgerald 5). East Egg being “fashionable” expresses the classiness and the calmness of it. The East Egg symbolizes the oldness of the American Dream showing how calm it was. The West Egg is the wilder and extreme people of Long Island. The West Egg is the start of a new era, where people forget the past and start something better and new. “I lived at West Egg, the — well, the less fashionable of the two, though this is a most superficial tag to express the bizarre and not a little sinister contrast between them” (5). The West Egg is the exact opposite of East Egg as expressed earlier. The West Egg’s “less fashionable” demonstrates its wildness. The West Egg not only symbolizes the change within the American Dream, but symbolizes the start of corruptness. Next we see that Fitzgerald used the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg to express his view on the American Dream. The eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg are described as a “blue and gigantic -- their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but, instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existent nose.” (23). The eyes are the only part of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg that is mentioned and shown of him in the book. The eyes are also present when Michaelis tries to...
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