American Literature: Period #6
The Great Gatsby and the American Dream
As defined by many Americans themselves, the American Dream interpreted as having financial security and prosperity. It is having it promises self-fulfillment as a reward for hard work and self-reliance. However, it can still be interpreted in different ways. In my personal opinion, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald only depicts the corruption of Dream. Fitzgerald shows this through the characterization of 3 major characters: Jay Gatsby, Nick Carraway, and Tom Buchanan. Jay Gatsby is really a complex symbol of the corruption of the American Dream. He is a romantic dreamer who seeks to fulfill his life by earning his wealth as a gangster. His lack of wealth led Daisy into the arms of another more prosperous man, Tom. Gatsby believed that he could win Daisy back with money, and that he could get the life she wanted if he is willing to pay for it. He also wanted to get rid of the years Tom and Daisy had together. Gatsby wanted to repeat the past, "I'm going to fix everything just the way it was before. She'll see . . ."(Fitzgerald p.110) Gatsby's romantic disregard for reality changes the American Dream with his dream that love can be gained if one can make enough money. The corruption of Gatsby's dream by adopting materialism as its means is due to the corruption of the American Dream. Nick Carraway is the narrator and moral center of the novel. He was brought up in the Midwest, attended college with Tom at Yale, and moved to New York to become a bondsman. As the story begins, Nick sees himself as one who reserves making personal judgments on others. By the stories end, Nick alone has grown as a character, and finds himself making moral judgments on those around him. Opinionated, Nick’s American Dream is realized after Gatsby’s death; learning from the past Tom Buchanan can be seen as a hypocritical and dogmatic aristocrat...