Gatsby and the Complexity of the American Dream

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 10 (4086 words) Published: October 21, 2008
Gatsby and the Complexity of the American Dream

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is an exploration of the American dream in modern society, in which money and prosperity are significant factors and it may not be as simple as you think; and the movie Citizen Kane is another example of the complex issues relating to the American dream. First, we will explore the American dream, in which it is to make a great deal of money because it provides for a comfortable living, and characters in the novel reflect upon this very ideal. Second, achieving the American dream of wealth is perceived to bring happiness, but that is not always the case as will examine the dream relating to the characters in the novel. Third, we will explore the American dream of Jay Gatsby in comparison to Charles Foster Kane in the movie Citizen Kane, and how they approached life differently, but both ended up with similar outcomes. FIRST, the American dream is the desire to acquire an enormous amount of fortune through the opportunities in the United States; however, to some people, the American dreams are the finer things in life other than money, such as freedom, family, health, love, and happiness. According to the novel, wealth is the central theme of the story. Most of the characters seem to revolve themselves around money one way or another. Money is important to sustain a normal lifestyle, the opportunity of working hard to earn a living, and having a representative democracy is what I believe to be the American dream. The American dream is the opportunity to make a large sum of money, in which it would provide financial security. It would change your social status; all of a suddenly, you belong with a different crowd of people in the upper echelons, an entirely different playing field. It is also the ability to attain material goods through the measure of wealth and success. The United States is a place where opportunities are available to all individuals, regardless of your social status or racial background; the land of the free, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are several examples of people with different social status and racial backgrounds who are living the American dream: Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Colin Powell, Jackie Chan, and Jennifer Lopez. It is rare to find people with different racial backgrounds in other countries to have the amount of wealth as the people in the United States. The vast array of resources makes this place known as the land of opportunity. The American dream, however, is not necessarily all about wealth to some people. Wealth may not necessarily bring happiness to everybody. There are many more important things to life than revolving yourself around money all the time. Some people feel that living in a democratic society with the freedom of political representation is the American dream, because there are many countries in this world that still holds a repressed society. It could also be about earning a decent living, not necessarily a lot of money, but enough, and the well being of family members. In other words, the American dream could be having a stable income enough to be satisfactory, while maintaining a loving and healthy family. There is an old saying that money cannot buy happiness.

The American dream, according to the novel, portrays that money is above all things, and Fitzgerald stresses the importance of money throughout the story because money seems to be the root of all causes. It also explores the different levels of the social class, from royalty to peasants. It seems as though money builds confidence, according to the novel, in which you are perceived to be a ‘nobody’ in society without wealth and status. It seems to be about what you own and who you know. To have money is to have power and access to happiness. For example, Gatsby insisted on showing Daisy his house when they first reunited. He said to her, “My house looks well, doesn’t it? See how the...
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