The American dream is an ideal that has been present in American literature for a very long time. 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 had different representations throughout different time periods, although it is generally based on ideas of freedom, self-reliance, and a desire for something greater. The early settlers’ dream of traveling out West to find land and start a family has gradually transformed into a materialistic vision of having a big house, a nice car, and a life of ease. In the past century, the American dream has increasingly focused on material items as an indication of attaining success. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a self-made man who started out with no money and only a plan 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 American dream has become corrupted by the culture of wealth and opulence that surrounds him. Gatsby’s romantic view of wealth has not prepared him for the self-interested, snobbish, corrupt group of people with which he comes to associate. 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 incommunicable desire for something greater. Nick Carraway realizes that although Gatsby is involved in underhanded business dealings and is fixated on money, 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.” 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...
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