Great Gatsby, the Failure of the American Dream

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 3 (1060 words) Published: April 7, 2013
In his novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald makes it quite clear how he feels about American society, especially the American dream. He criticizes the American dream’s credo that anyone, if they work hard enough, can become who they want to be. More importantly, he attacks the idea that American society can be free of a class system. The reality is much more grim. Through the characters of Myrtle, Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy, Fitzgerald exposes how the American dream is a polluted and corrupted idea, a fabrication created by society.

Fitzgerald expresses his commentary on the American dream through the character of Myrtle. She is an example of how the political and social ideals of American culture conflict in a way that corrupts the American dream into a nightmare. Contrary to what the American dream represents, there are indeed fine class distinctions within American society. With these come strict social boundaries that cannot be crossed. It is almost as if there are unspoken rules understood by low and high classed individuals alike. Myrtle Wilson is no exception. She represents the low and ignorant class of America. Instead of abiding by these unspoken rules, she attempts to break the social barriers and pursue wealth and power by any means necessary. Using her sexuality in her affair with Tom, she becomes deceitful by abandoning and forgetting her own social foundation. The illicit ways Myrtle attempts to breach the impenetrable barriers of the class system are meant to disgust the reader. Nick notices the sham when he accompanies Tom to meet her, and spends the night drinking with them.

“With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change. The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted into impressive hauteur. Her laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected by moment, and as she expanded, the room grew smaller around her” (Fitzgerald, 30).

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