Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 5 (1704 words) Published: May 16, 2013
The American dream is a symbol of hope, empowering the characters to endure the tribulationsof life. In Of Mice and Men, protagonists Lennie and George have created an American dreamthat one day they will "have a bigvegetablepatch and a rabbit hutch and chickens. And when itrains in the winter, we'll just say the hell with goin' to work, and we'll build up a fire in the stoveand set around it and listen to the rain comin' down on the roof [SIC]"(Steinbeck 16). The dreamis a stronghold; it allows them to endure the circumstances on the farm where they work. Bothmen dislike working on the farm because the boss's son, Curley is often very cruel and theconditions on the ranch are deplorable. However, they continue to work on the farm because "if we can get jus' a few dollars in the poke we'll shove off and go up the American River and pangold. We can make maybe a couple of dollars a day there, and we might hit a pocket [SIC]" (33).The dream creates an impetus for Lennie and George to stay within the intolerableconfines of farm to earn the money necessary to attain their dream. To them, "the dream of landrepresents independence and dignity; the American Dream" (Magill 4622). Theranchis asanctuary where Lennie and George can evade society and find acceptance despite Lennie'smental disability. Lennie is the beholder of dream, he constantly asks "George, how long's itgoing to be till we get that little place an' live off the fatta the lan'an' rabbits?" (Steinbeck 55).Although Lennie's mental disability hinders him and George from attaining the dream, Lennie'sinnocence allows them to pursue it. Without pursuing the dream, they would "be like all theother ranch hands, wasting money on whiskey and women, drifting aimlessly from one job to thenext" (Magill 4662). Lennie and George's dream provides hope; it keeps them from going astray.In The Great Gatsby, Gatsby hopes to marry Daisy Buchanan, a wealthy girl from the East Eggwho represents his American dream to rekindle the past. Gatsby "talked a lot about the past hewanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps that had gone into loving Daisy. Hislife had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was" (Fitzgerald 110). He viewsDaisy as a symbol of his past, and views America as a place where he can relive the past.Gatsbys dream motivates him to reinvent himself; "Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprangfrom his Platonic conception of himself" (Fitzgerald 98). He was not complacent with his parents' position as unsuccessful farm people; Gatsby believed he could invent a conception of himself to impress Daisy. Through involvement with bootlegging, Gatsby garners an enormousamount of wealth and purchases a gothic mansion on the West Egg of Long Island. Hestrategically "bought that house so that [she] would be just across the bay" (Fitzgerald 78). Hewants Daisy to notice his improved stature and give him a second chance. Gatsby's dream of becoming a conception of himself to impress Daisy parallels the American dream; "He believesthat in America, one can become anything. He believes in the American Dream" (Magill 2651).Instead of assuming his parents' identity as unsuccessful farm workers, Gatsby envisionsattaining success and happiness with Daisy. The character's American dreams of success helpthem cope with their circumstances.The blissful success that the American Dream portrays is juxtaposed against the principle of "survival of the fittest" in Of Mice and Men and The Great Gatsby. In American society, the people who are most successful and the fittest to survive are the individuals who are thestrongest. Gatsby is faced with the principle of "survival of the fittest" when he is unable to garner the affections of Daisy and rekindle the past. When Gatsby left, Daisy "wanted her lifeshaped now, immediately and the decision must be made by some force of love,...
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