The American Dream in the Great Gatsby

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 2 (633 words) Published: May 5, 2010
Corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

Dictionary.com states that the definition of The American Dream is the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American. The idea is that every American can reach this “American Dream” with hard work. After World War 1, the stock market boomed, so ordinary people suddenly became rich. This created a barrier between “old money” and “new money.” The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is set among the huge, beautiful mansions of Long Island and depicts the hope and disillusionment inspired by the dream of becoming wealthy. The Great Gatsby focuses on this idea of the American Dream and the ways used to reach it. It’s what drives the characters throughout the book. So reaching the “American Dream” is the theme I chose. When we think of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby and people who try to encompass it, we automatically think of Jay Gatsby. Throughout the book we find that Gatsby, formerly a poor boy, works hard to become rich and influential in order to impress his childhood sweetheart, Daisy Buchanan. He knew that while he was poor there was no chance of them ever uniting as a couple. “I was poor”, Gatsby had no money and he thought that Daisy “was tired of waiting around for me” (pg 131). Gatsby felt that the only way to win Daisy back was to reach for what many people had considered the “American Dream.” “However glorious might be his future as Jay Gatsby, he was at present a penniless young man…eventually he took Daisy one night-took her because he knew he had no real right to touch her hand” (pg 156). Gatsby lies and does illegal things to make his way to the top, such as bootlegging. He based his whole self-being on how much money he earned and the possessions he had. He felt that with money came many other advantages to life. Gatsby’s constant parties also encompass the corruption of the American Dream. All these examples show how the...
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