The Great Gatsby: the Decline of the American Dream

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Fitzgerald’s theme in The Great Gatsby is the corruption and decline of the ‘American Dream’. By analyzing the upper class during the 1920s through the eyes of the narrator, Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald shows that the American Dream has transformed from noble thoughts to more materialistic and money based ideas. Fitzgerald also highlights the original aspects as well as the new aspects of the American Dream in his tragic novel to illustrate that a once impervious dream is now lost forever to the American people. The product of hard work is the wistful Jay Gatsby, who exemplifies the purest characteristic of the American Dream, everlasting hope. His burning desire to win Daisy’s love is Gatsby’s main goal. Gatsby pursues unethical and often illegal actions in pursuit of wealth, thinking he can purchase the love of Daisy and he describes her as "Her voice is full of money". He realizes his dreams, and they empower him to achieve success. With money, Gatsby believes that anything is possible. He does all he can to buy his happiness, which in this case is winning Daisy’s love, yet he lacks the foresight to see the futility of his efforts. Nick watches Gatsby’s movements and comments “He stretches out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and as far as I am from him I can swear he is trembling. Involuntarily I glance seaward-and distinguish nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might be the end of the dock” (page 16). Gatsby’s goal gives him a purpose in life and sets him apart from the rest of the upper class. Result of American dream being corrupted is that the motivation and ambition were gone and the dream is left with the pursuit of an empty goal. This is displayed when Daisy says "Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day of the year and miss it." This quote shows the lack of motivation and meaningless to which the empty rich society has turned to....
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