Failure of American Dream

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 5 (1774 words) Published: November 16, 2005
The American Dream is a dream that glorifies fame, the pursuit of success , and power. It is the idea if needing to have to have material goods in order to feel successful and obtain a higher status. In The Great Gatsby, The Winter Of Our Discontent, Babbitt, and Death Of A Salesman there are many similarities between the backgrounds of the main characters that attempt and fail at the American dream.

In these novels, all of the characters are trying to better their lives. They do not realize that they all lead very decent lives. All of the characters live in upper-middle class towns. George Babbitt lives in a town named Zenith ( Sinclair 482). His city is set in the mid-west and is rapidly being invaded by new buildings, cars, and businesses. Ethan Hawley lives in a town his ancestors used to own called New Baytown ( Steinbeck 13) Willy Loman also lives in a city, in Brooklyn, New York ( Miller 12). Like the town of Zenith, Brooklyn is not the same as it was when Willy first moved there. It is now filled with apartments and buildings everywhere. Jay Gatsby resides in a town named West Egg in New York ( Fitzgerald 21 ).East Egg is the older rich, the ones that are sophisticated. West Egg is where the new rich of the time have settled ( Fitzgerald 21). The residents that live near Gatsby in East Egg are garish and colloquial. They seem to only care what exists on the outside of a person. Being located right near New York City, East Egg is also influenced by the hustle and bustle of the city life. All the characters are trying to keep up with the fast paced changes of their surroundings.

Within their creditable towns the main character of each novel seems to have a fairly respectable job, though, the characters do not see that. Ethan works as a grocery clerk at the town grocery store ( Steinbeck 11).

Another main priority to all these men that plays a large role are there families. Three out of four of them are family men. They put family before everything else at first but that eventually changes. George Babbitt is married to his wife Myra Babbitt (Sinclair 483) . They have three children Verona, Ted, and Tinka (Lewis 485 ) . Ethan Hawley and his wife Mary have two children (Steinbeck 5). Their names are Mary- Ellen and Allen (Steinbeck 8). Willy and his wife Linda Loman also have two children whose names are Biff and Happy (Miller 13). Those three men all care dearly about what they children and wives think of them and value their opinions. The first reason being the most important and dominant seems to be family. George, Willy, and Ethan all already have families of their own.Gatsby does not want to start a family but he does want to be with the woman that he loves, Daisy. They all want all this money to be able to impress their families. Since Gatsby already has a fortune of his own he wants to use it to try and win over Daisy, to impress her enough to leave her husband Tom and marry him( Fitzgerald 72 ). Willy wants to be able to set a good example for his children so they too will be successful. Ethan wants to impress his wife and children. He wants to be able to show them that he, too, can be successful. He wants to do something big so that his children can be proud of him (Steinbeck 27 ). Ethan is even worried about what his ancestors think of him, " ‘ Would my great ancestors be proud to know they produced a god dam grocery clerk in a god dam wop store in a town that they used to own!'" (Steinbeck 12). He wants to make them feel as if he has achieved something with his life. Being able to afford expensive things was the third main reason as to why the characters wanted to achieve such grand successes. George Babbitt said that the only way to measure success is by the possessions that one owns. So, naturally he feels the need to own expensive things, otherwise, in his eyes he deems himself as worthless. Babbitt debates buying a new family car because he says that a family's car indicates...
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