“Jay Gatsby Embodies the Beauty of the American Dream” to What Extent and How Do You Agree with This Interpretation of ‘the Great Gatsby’?

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 6 (2307 words) Published: April 7, 2013
“Jay Gatsby embodies the beauty of the American Dream”
To what extent and how do you agree with this interpretation of ‘The Great Gatsby’? The United States Declaration of independence in 1776 stated that all people have the right to “Life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. This is seen by many to express the vital spirit of the American Dream. Any individual, no matter their culture, social class or background, should be able to reach success and achieve their ambitions through hard work. The American Dream encapsulates many aspects and ideas such as giving people hope that they can succeed and have the opportunity to achieve whatever they want too. It is supposed to be incorruptible, beautiful and idealistic. It is not solely about money, fortune and materialism, however in the 1920s, the dream of being free and successful became tainted with the desire for wealth and dream of money and possessions. Post-war, during the economic boom, almost anyone could attempt to become wealthy, however F. Scott Fitzgerald highlights clear class barriers in his novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ and the difference between ‘new’ and ‘old’ money which is exactly what the America Dream wished to avoid and how this changes the aim of the American Dream. The beauty of the American Dream is the idea that it gives all citizens the hope that they can be treated as an equal and become successful and thus life a happy and fulfilled life. However, this needs to be done in the correct way, as if the act you carry out to reach your goal is wrong, this is immoral, which shows how the American Dream was also seen as corrupt. Some people may agree that Jay Gatsby embodies the beauty of the American Dream for various reasons. One of the main reasons for this view is the interpretation of Gatsby the narrator of the novel, Nick Carraway, gives the reader and his emphasis of the beauty of the America Dream. Nick does not idolise Gatsby due to his wealth and possessions, he aspires to be able to dream as Gatsby does. Nick has an “unaffected scorn” towards Gatsby’s materialism and doesn’t admire him for his cars and money. Nick admires Gatsby’s ability to, not only dream, but chase and achieve his dreams. He sees possibilities and hope through Gatsby’s success and respects what his possessions represent. Nick believes there is “something gorgeous about him” and that he has “some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life” showing that Nick believes Gatsby provides hope to not only him, but others, and allows them to wonder and dream of the same thing happening to them as he admires his idealism of the perfect life. Nick also applauds Gatsby’s efforts to keep his dream of Daisy alive. Nick states that when Gatsby is with Daisy he could climb the ladder “to the secret place above the trees” and “if he climbed it alone, once there he could suck on the pap of life” showing that Gatsby views their relationship as fairytale like, magic, beautiful and pure. He then bought his house “so that Daisy would be just across the bay” insinuating that he made his wealth just to be closer to Daisy in hope they could rekindle their perfect love affair. Nick admires Gatsby’s determination and ambition to win back Daisy’s love which are a main part of the American Dream, and that his dream of wealth and success was all for her and in the sake of their beautiful love. Another reason Gatsby embodies the beauty of the American dream is because, despite being from a poor background and not having many privileges, he worked hard for his fortune and didn’t inherit ‘old’ money much like other wealthy aristocratic people, such as Tom Buchanan, did. Gatsby’s parents were “unsuccessful farm people” however “his imagination had never really accepted” this as he was determined to have a life that differed from theirs entirely. This portrays the idea in the American Dream that hard work pays off and anyone can achieve their dreams no matter their social class or family background meaning...
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