The Failure of Gatsby's American Dream

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 3 (1061 words) Published: January 8, 2012
The Failure of Gatsby’s American Dream

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is portrayed as being an admirable, wealthy, kind, and genuinely impressive man. However, that being said, he is also portrayed as pretentious, deceptive, criminal, and most importantly to the plot, completely insatiable. Even though the novel’s narrator, Nick Carraway, heavily sympathizes with Gatsby, he has many character flaws that ultimately assure the failure of his “dream”, and even lead to his untimely demise. The first bit from the novel that demonstrates Gatsby’s inability to be content, is the fact that he is not Jay Gatsby. It is learned about halfway through the novel that Jay Gatsby from California is actually a man names James Gatz, who comes from Chicago. The fact that Gatsby fabricated his past and lives his life under an alias shows that he is unable to be content even with his own origins. To go through the trouble of making up an entire past for himself rather than simply revealing the truth shows that either he was too ashamed to tell of his family for his financial background, or as is more likely, he found it to be boring. By very nature, Gatsby craves excitement and adventure. In order to make himself seem more exciting and adventurous, he became Jay Gatsby. After examining that, it’s best to look at Gatsby’s chosen vocation. Although Gatsby claims to have his money from being born of a wealthy family from the West, he is later revealed to have earned his money from the illegal business of manufacturing and selling bootlegged liquor. Seeing Gatsby use criminal means to achieve wealth and the “American Dream” demonstrates how desperately he wants to be taken seriously. Using his fake persona and fool-proof criminal processes to get wealth and social status means to him that most certainly, he could not be looked down upon or judged for being born of a lower class family and not having any of his own wealth to speak...
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