American Dream - Paper 3

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, United States Pages: 4 (1261 words) Published: May 5, 2012
John Salvatore
American Studies
28 February 2012
American Dream
The American dream is something that is relevant in everyone’s life. People strive to obtain this dream throughout their entire life. However, the American dream can be different for each person depending on what they value and feel is important to them. In the book Walden by Henry David Thoreau he feels that everyone should live as simple as possible because life is more about finding your inner self rather than material possessions. Contrasting Thoreau’s American dream in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the main character Jay Gatsby is focused on material possessions and his wealth. These two dreams are very different from each other because there is no correct answer as to what the American dream is.

As Henry David Thoreau put it, “I have learned this, at least, from my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” To many people the American dream means having a nice house, kids, and money but Thoreau did not want any of that. Thoreau wanted to enjoy the simple things in life that most people do not even notice. When Thoreau moved out into the woods near what is now called Walden Pond he built himself a cabin with his bare hands. He enjoyed building the cabin and living in it every night. His thought for living out in the woods was so he would be able to write comfortably without the distractions of the outside world. To Thoreau one of the most important things in life is self-reliance. People should not need to rely on someone else in order to live or even to have fun. Thoreau was able to find many things out in the woods that kept him occupied, one such thing was he liked to listen to the animals outside or even watch ants move around on the ground. To most people these things may seem trivial and stupid but to Thoreau ants...

Cited: Ordway, Samuel Hanson. Resources and the American Dream, including a Theory of
the Limit of Growth. New York: Ronald, 1953. Print.
Fahey, William. F. Scott Fitzgerald and the American Dream. New York:
Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1973.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York:
Chelsea House Publishers, 1985.
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