The American Dream in the Great Gatsby

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 3 (1142 words) Published: April 20, 2011
The American Dream is defined as; the traditional social ideals of the United States, such as equality, democracy, and material prosperity. In the novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the American Dream is clearly based on material prosperity. Nick Carraway narrates his account of Jay Gatsby’s extravagant life as a wealthy, charismatic man living in the West Egg Village of New York City. The desire to obtain wealth is evident in the novel, many of the characters demonstrate this, including Gatsby himself. He displays his need to find happiness and craving to be accepted by the upper social class. The Great Gatsby also established the obvious corruption of the American Dream in the 1920’s, and how it was based on wealth and dreams.

Throughout the novel, were many occurrences exposed how unobtainable the American Dream was for the main character, Jay Gatsby. He wanted so desperately to be with his long-love, Daisy Buchanan, who found love elsewhere while Gatsby was off at war, years earlier. Countless obstacles stood in the way of their love, including their social classes. He lived in the West Egg, and she lived in East Egg. East was the more fashionable of the two. Geographically, the one thing that divided the eggs was a bay. Nick describes the symbolism of the distance when he explained, “…he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way…I glanced seaward and distinguished nothing except a single green light…that might have been the end of a dock” (152). The light was on the end of a dock, the Buchanan’s dock. Gatsby was reaching out for Daisy, he longed for her love, yet, he knew he could not have her. This scene expresses the American Dream for Gatsby. He did what ever he could to be in the spot he was, at the time, to be close to Daisy, yet he was so far away. Tom Buchanan, Daisy’s husband, was another barrier apprehending Gatsby from his American Dream. He did not like Gatsby from the beginning. There were many rumors about...
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