Preview

Great Gatsby: Fitzgerald's Criticism of the American Dream

Good Essays
Open Document
Open Document
520 Words
Grammar
Grammar
Plagiarism
Plagiarism
Writing
Writing
Score
Score
Great Gatsby: Fitzgerald's Criticism of the American Dream
Great Gatsby: Fitzgerald's Criticism of The American Dream

The American Dream, as it arose in the Colonial period and developed in the nineteenth century, was based on the assumption that each person, no matter what his origins, could succeed in life on the sole basis of his or her own skill and effort. The dream was embodied in the ideal of the self-made man, just as it was embodied in Fitzgerald's own family by his grandfather, P. F. McQuillan.
Fitzgerald's novel takes its place among other novels whose insights into the nature of the American dream have not affected the artistic form of the novel itself. The Great Gatsby serves as Fitzgerald's critique of the American dream. The Great Gatsby embodies a criticism of America and the American experience, more radical than any other author has attempted. The theme of the novel is the destruction of the American dream during the 1920s, a period when the vulgar pursuit of material happiness has corrupted the old values that gave substance to the dream. The characters are Midwesterners who have come East in pursuit of this new dream of money, fame, success, glamour, and excitement. Tom and Daisy must have a huge house, a stable of polo ponies, and friends in Europe. Gatsby must have his enormous mansion before he can feel confident enough to try to win Daisy. Fitzgerald does not criticize the American dream itself but the corruption of that dream. What was once for Ben Franklin or Thomas
Jefferson a belief in self-reliance and hard work has become what Nick Carraway calls " . . . the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty." The energy that might have gone into the pursuit of noble goals has been channeled into the pursuit of power and pleasure, and a very showy, but fundamentally empty form of success. Fitzgerald's critique of the American dream is developed through certain dominant images and symbols. Fitzgerald uses the green light as a symbol of hope, money, and jealousy. Hope

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    The American Dream-an opportunity to start a new life with promising freedom. This idea seems to still go on today, in this century. Many people don’t think about what the aspects of the American Dream is, or what it is completely. Those who think about it, define it as kind of like a fresh start. Today, America still provides access to the American Dream as stated in The Great Gatsby, “The New Colossus,” and “Looking toward the future.”…

    • 641 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Great Gatsby is a book published in 1925 that revolves around the life of Nick Carraway and his experiences of moving to the east. The story, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is focused on showing the American Dream. Which is the notion that there is “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone.” Though how do the characters in the book represent the notion of the American Dream? Fitzgerald uses Gatsby to represent the American Dream and that people will go to great lengths to achieve it.…

    • 686 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Even though we call the american American, is it really american? In the book The Great Gatsby, many of these characters are not American, but they are still living the American dream. While some characters are living the American others are not and what set them apart will astonish you.…

    • 777 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Fitzgerald does a nice job of describing this through imagery, setting, and symbolism in the…

    • 492 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Great Gatsby Thesis

    • 1844 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Thesis: The pursuit of the American Dream is a dominant theme throughout The Great Gatsby, which is carried out in various ways by F. Scott Fitzgerald, how the author represents this theme through his characters and their actions is one small aspect of it.…

    • 1844 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    "The Outstanding Gatsby" reveals countless principles concerning today's area and the "American dream." One of the biggest fears in today's globe is the fear of not fitting into society. People of all period clusters and backgrounds allocate this fear. Countless people trust that to accord somebody's affection, they have to assimilate into that person's society. In the report, Jay Gatsby, discern the American dream and his passions of wealth, love, or fame or going afterward the past ideals could not lead to real happiness. Though, to be happy to merely come to a tragedy and finished loss.…

    • 642 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Jay Gatsby achieved the American Dream by the devotion he has for his love, Daisy. The American Dream can be achieved by becoming rich and successful, from starting with nothing. Gatsby didn’t realize himself that he seized the American Dream, only to care for his love’s approval. He couldn’t “win” his love’s heart five years prior, because he was a “poor boy.” Taking chances and achieving goals, took Gatsby further than he imagined. Allowing his love for Daisy, blind him, the consequence have finally caught up to him.…

    • 1074 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    An author can create criticism and comment on injustice by examining the society of the time. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses an insightful perspective in the novel The Great Gatsby to illustrate the faults within society and perhaps bring awareness to the audience that there is a need for change. The words “American Dream” offer hope for a life filled with possibilities, including fulfillment and meaningful relationships. Fitzgerald, however, shows how the deterioration of American values leads to the failure of the American Dream. While everyone is so interested in drifting through life accumulating material possessions, they fail to see how the chase has a negative effect on…

    • 973 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Thesis: Although Dexter 's dream can be paralleled to that of the American Dream Fitzgerald presents this idea of idealism in a negative sense saying that in reality the dream can never truly be achieved.…

    • 947 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The American dream in The Great Gatsby seems at first to be just about money and material things, but the meaning becomes deeper when the clear meaning is the love that Gatsby has for Daisy and his quest to get her back. Gatsby has the life that most people would dream of, but he doesn’t have the only true thing that he wants. He uses material things and wealth to hopefully win his way back into daisy’s heart as he did once before.…

    • 473 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    One would say the American Dream is somewhat like the sun. On the outside, sometimes it is one of the most beautiful things in the world, but to really know it, and all of the dangers that come with it, one has to dig into the dangerous and corrupt insides. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts the 1920’s as a time of decay of social and moral values; evidence of this is the greed and the pursuit of pleasure. Jay Gatsby’s constant parties epitomized the corruption of the American Dream as the desire for money and worldly pleasures overshadowed the true values of the American Dream. After WWI ended in 1918, veterans found that life was not as rosy as it had been before. The war led to an economic…

    • 788 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Great Gatsby, a novel by Scott Fitzgerald, is about the American Dream, and the downfall of those who attempt to reach its impossible goals. The attempt to capture the American Dream is used in many novels. This dream is different for different people; but, in The Great Gatsby, for Jay, the dream is that through wealth and power, one can acquire happiness. To get this happiness Jay must reach into the past and relive an old dream; and, in order to do this, he must have wealth and power.…

    • 845 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald illustrates how the desire for wealth and materialism compels the corruption and decay of the American Dream. Each individual has a different interpretation of what the American Dream entails; however, it is usually based on ideas of self-sufficiency, freedom, and a desire for something greater. The old dreams of earning money and starting a family gradually turned into a materialistic vision of having a big house, a nice car, and a relaxing life. Many people believe that expensive material items are an indicator of high success. Jay Gatsby, a character in the novel, is a self-made man who earns his money by illegal means. He surrounds himself with luxurious possessions in an attempt to buy the affection of Daisy Buchanan. According to Michael Sandel, you can’t buy friends. He says that “Somehow, the money that buys the friendship dissolves it, or turns it into something else” (Sandel 94). The “something else” however, is what Gatsby ends up creating. He creates a corrupt relationship with Daisy that is based on her greed and affinity for materialistic goods.…

    • 1123 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    American dream was rooted in the words that each person, despite their origins, is capable of succeeding in life and this was all based on their skills and efforts. Fitzgerald shows the original American dream as a set of objectives that entailed settlement, freedom, and an honest life with the likelihood of upward social and economic mobility established through hard work, as corrupted and characterized by materialism. Fitzgerald brands and portrays this era by its greed in his re-known novel of Great Gatsby. This book discredits the intended purity of America dream that anyone can achieve it through hard work and instead the author claims that the goal is unrealistic and it’s altered to achieve nothing but empty pleasure and material goods (Dube, 2017). Therefore, in the Great Gatsby novel, Francis Scott Fitzgerald seems to be criticizing the corruption of the American Dream but not the dream itself. The American dream seem to be corrupt because of the people’s greed, need for money ,and power.…

    • 986 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The definition of the American dream is different for everyone. Many have just bits and pieces of their entire dream. Which this makes it very to succeed with their dreams. This is seen in the novel The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, as George Wilson realizes his dream will always be crushed and unable to obtain. George Wilson an ordinary everyday type of person, who was not known for being luxurious or elegant.…

    • 824 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays