The American Dream in 'The Great Gatsby'

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The novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is about the struggle of achieving the American dream, and how much a person is willing to do to reach it. The book’s focus is on the obsession of Gatsby, the protagonist, and his feelings for Daisy, a married woman who he was previously involved with. The novel also focuses on Gatsby’s determination to make her fall in love with him by the glitz of money and power. Fitzgerald uses the symbols of wealth, superficiality and irresponsibility to convey the idea that the American dream is unattainable. Wealth is a factor that propels the actions of the characters in the novel. In the Great Gatsby, most of the characters are wealthy and are able to do a lot because of their prosperity. Wealth is the key factor of the struggle of Jay Gatsby to win the heart of Daisy Buchanan. Jay devotes himself to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means to win Daisy. Although he has money, it isn’t the kind that allows him into her world. Even her voice is off limits to him, “Her voice is full of money.” The barriers of wealth constantly prevent their love from being something more than just of the past. Gatsby tries to use wealth to attain Daisy, his “dream girl”. He is unsuccessful, and therefore proves that wealth cannot achieve the American dream. Later in the novel, it is evident that the only reason Daisy wants to be with Gatsby is because of his wealth. In a pivotal scene in the novel, Daisy is filled with emotion over Gatsby’s expensive European shirts so much that she cries, “They’re such beautiful shirts.” As Daisy sees the rest of Jay’s house, she is overcome by his prosperity and only wants to be with him because of this money. Gatsby becomes Daisy’s dream of a better life. However, once Daisy realizes that his wealth is looked down upon because he is a bootlegger, she doesn’t want to be with him anymore and her dream with him is worthless. Therefore, Gatsby’s dream fails because of his material wealth he has to accomplish

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