F. Scott Fitzgerald explores the decline of the American Dream in one of his most famous novels, “The Great Gatsby.” Jay Gatsby is an elite of East Egg who has committed his life to regaining Daisy Fay, his ex-lover. His wealth, however, is constantly shadowed by the more sophisticated members of West and East Egg so Gatsby is constantly forced to play catch up in order to impress Daisy with his possessions. Although this book only takes place over a few months, it represents the entire time period of the Roaring 1920s, in which society, mainly on the East Coast, sees the decay and corruption of the original American Dream. The 1920s marked a time of great post-war economic growth, and Fitzgerald captures the materialistic and superficial values which infiltrated the American society’s mindset. Gatsby is the embodiment of the corrupted American Dream; his extravagant parties, the enormous house, the library full of unread books, illustrate how materialism changed him from a person full of hopes and dreams into a mere icon of wealth, power, and class. The original American Dream was all about new opportunities. People of low social status viewed America as blank sheet of paper, a place where they could start new lives from the very beginning. In the eyes of the first Dutch sailors, America was “a fresh green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder” (Pg. 180).
Before Gatsby became the rich and famous man he presented himself as in the novel, he was just a simple farmer from the Midwest whose name was James Gatz. Ever since he was young, Gatz worked hard on...
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