Great Gatsby Essay: Illusion of the American Dream

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Maddy Melton
Mrs. Montieth
Honors English 10
3/2/12
The American Illusion
 The American dream is an idea that has been around since the start of this country. The dream has many different variations that could one would want. In the last century, however, the dream seems to involve one becoming a successful individual with all the money and popularity one desires. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby sets out to create himself with no money to his name and no plan for his dream. By looking at Gatsby’s unachievable dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, we see that no matter what, Jay Gatsby will not stop chasing his dream. This is a surprising idea that is complicated by recognizing that the illusion of the dream is more stimulating to Gatsby than actually attaining it.         Jay Gatsby came from nothing. But he decided at a young age that his entire life would be about grasping his dream. "His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people--his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God... and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end" (Fitzgerald 104). Jay Gatsby’s character is one who, from the very beginning, wanted to be successful. He had his idea of his success and decided to make it happen. Gatsby thought himself up and then sought out to become his idea of success. For the last five years of Gatsby’s life, he has been obsessing over Daisy Buchanan. She is the symbol of everything that Gatsby strives for in his dream. Her voice is described to be “full of money-- that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ songs in it” (127). Daisy is a rich,...
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