November 29, 2011
AP Senior Literature
The Great Gatsby Literary Analysis
The American Dream is an idea that has been present since American literature’s beginning. Typically, the dreamer aspires to rise from rags to riches, while accumulating such things as love, high status, wealth, and power on his way to the top. The dream has variations throughout different time periods, although it is generally based on ideas of freedom, self-reliance, and a desire for something greater. The American dream has increasingly focused on materialistic items as a sign of attaining success. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a self-made man who started out with no money only planned for achieving his dream. He is so blinded by his luxurious possessions that he does not see that money cannot buy love or happiness. Fitzgerald demonstrates how a dream can become corrupted by one’s focus on acquiring wealth, power, and expensive things. Gatsby’s dream can be said to be a naïve dream based on the mistaken belief that material possessions are identical with happiness, harmony, and beauty. His American dream has become rather corrupted by the background of wealth that surrounds him in his everyday life. His romantic view of wealth has not prepared him for the self-interested, snobbish, corrupt group of people that also surround him. He throws lavish parties for countless people, yet he has no real friends. Gatsby buys expensive things and entertains large groups of society because of his inexpressible desire for something greater. Nick Carraway realizes that although Gatsby is involved in underhanded business dealings, he is a good man at heart. The last time Nick sees Gatsby alive, he tells him, “They’re a rotten crowd.... You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together” (Fitzgerald 162). Gatsby’s romantic view of life may partly be to blame for his inability to achieve his dream. Although he has made his fortune through conducting suspicious business...