great gatsby american dream

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 553
  • Published: February 25, 2014
Read full document
Text Preview

The Tragic Misinterpretation of the 1920s American Dream
The 1920s exemplified the flaws of the American Dream and the tragic misinterpretation that money outweighed hard work and morals. The Great Gatsby, set in the 1920s, represents the demise of the traditions and values behind the American Dream as the desire to be rich took over. The novel appears to deal with the failed relationship of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, however the overall theme has to do with the culture of the 1920s and the cultural elements that led to the downfall of the American Dream. The new meaning of the American Dream combined with its altered results created the idea that money equated to happiness in the 1920s. This change was the eventual demise of what the American Dream was as well as the demise of the country as well. During the 1920s, the American Dream was perceived as attainable by anyone, regardless of family history or social status, if they worked hard enough. In the book titled “Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity”, the author Roland Marchand’s definition of a twenties man living the American Dream and Fitzgerald’s portrayal of Jay Gatsby, who has risen from a poor childhood to being a millionaire with servants, a huge house, and dozens of friends, presents a resemblance that is impossible to deny. While Gatsby does not solely represent the 1920s man living the American Dream, Fitzgerald created a character that resembled the corruption and misinterpretations surrounding the values and ideas behind the American Dream during the time period. The elements of Gatsby’s rise to the upper class and the way his life embodied what the American Dream was actually led it’s demise. In Thorstein Veblen’s “The Theory of the Leisure Class” he writes, “…to gain and hold the esteem of men is not sufficient merely to hold wealth and power. The wealth and power must be put into evidence.” Thorstein Veblen, who made known the term “conspicuous consumption” - a...
tracking img