The Great Gatsby: Life and Death of the Old American Dream

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14th March 2012

The Pursuit of Happiness

We go through life blinded by the green light of society, like primordial chaos embedded upon us. We lead superficial lives feigning ignorance, surrounding ourselves with the desires of social status. We exemplify the Max Weber philosophy of social stratification based on three dimensions of social interaction of wealth, prestige and power. F. Scott. Fitzgerald has demonstrated this in his timeless idealistic novel the Great Gatsby. Therefore what is it in the human physique that allows us to draw parallels between social status and happiness?

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote ‘the Great Gatsby’ during the era of the 1920’s, a time of decayed social and moral value. By removing the fourth wall Fitzgerald allows the reader to understand in pronounced depth the idealism of the Great American dream and reveals the paradox between the dreams and reality. Another characteristic of the American dream is the idea of success and the reality of reaching that goal. This is shown through the life of James Gatz who devoted his life to becoming more then just an American man but an American hero. James Gatz qualities show that of an American hero, Conscientious, ambitious and the longing for a never-ending journey.

The result of James Gatz hardship was the charismatic Jay Gatsby. James’ Alter ego somehow exemplifies the American dream, by illustrating eternal faith. Throughout the novel Gatsby’s desire to have Daisy for himself is his idea of the traditional American dream. He never let go of his goals and aspirations and followed them through to the end. This admiration is shown when Nick first notices Gatsby “out to determine what share was his of our local heavens.” (Pg. 21) As the novel progresses so does the relationship between Nick and Gatsby, soon enough Nick begins to notice Jay’s desires “involuntarily I glanced seaward- and distinguished nothing except a single green light.” (Pg. 22) The green light represents the...
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