The Great Gatsby

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The Great Gatsby and the American Dream

One would say the American Dream is somewhat like the sun. On the outside, sometimes it is one of the most beautiful things in the world, but to really know it, and all of the dangers that come with it, one has to dig into the dangerous and corrupt insides. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts the 1920’s as a time of decay of social and moral values; evidence of this is the greed and the pursuit of pleasure. Jay Gatsby’s constant parties epitomized the corruption of the American Dream as the desire for money and worldly pleasures overshadowed the true values of the American Dream. After WWI ended in 1918, veterans found that life was not as rosy as it had been before. The war led to an economic boom as more and more people were buying materialistic items that they would have never bought. With this economic boom it became apparent that any person of any social status could become wealthy. This created the social rift between the families that had just found new money and the old wealthy industrialists.

Fitzgerald intricately places characters in these types of social trends. Meyer Wolfshiem is one of these intricately placed characters; he is a man that one would say is the epitome of the underground mafia.. Also, Gatsby’s need to climb the “social ladder” shows the need of wealth of the individuals in this era. If one reads the passage in which Fitzgerald characterizes Gatsby’s house as an “amusement park” (41), it is also said that there are guests that attend without even meeting the host. This shows the need for “new money”, people trying to socialize with others to climb this “social ladder”. Also the rift between “old money” and “new money” is quite evident with the geographical placement of the individual characters; East Egg, “old money” individuals, who have been wealthy for generations past, and West Egg, “new money” representing self-made individuals.

The original idea of the American Dream...
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