The American Dream: The Great Gatsby

Topics: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby Pages: 3 (942 words) Published: January 30, 2014
The Great Gatsby

The American dream is an idea that has been present since the very birth American literature. Typically speaking, the “dreamer” tries to rise from poverty to riches, whilst also gaining such things as love, high status, power, and wealth on his way to the top. The dream he keeps pursuing, has changed throughout time, although it is typically based on concepts of freedom, self-reliance, and a desire for something greater. The early American settlers’ dream of traveling West to find land and start a family, has slowly transformed into a ridiculous and materialistic vision of having a large house, a nice car, and an easy life. Over the past century, the American dream has much more focused on material items as an indication of attaining success. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a man who started out with no money, and with only a plan for achieving his desired “dream”. He is so blinded by his possessions that he does not see that money can’t buy love or happiness. The author demonstrates how a man can easily become corrupted by one’s focus on obtaining wealth.

Gatsby’s dream is a naïve dream based on the fallacious assumption that material possessions are the key happiness. His so-called “American dream,” has become twisted by the wealth and corruption that surrounds him daily. Gatsby is a “nouveau riche,” his romantic view of wealth hasn’t prepared him for the snobbish, self-interested, corrupt group of people with which he becomes associated with. He throws overly lavish parties for countless amounts of people, yet he doesn’t have any real friends. Nick Carraway however, knows that although Gatsby is involved in fraudulent business dealings and is only focused on money, “he is a good man at heart”. The very last time Nick sees him before he dies, he tells him, “They’re a rotten crowd…. You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together”.

Gatsby’s overly romantic view of life may partly be what’s to blame for his inability to reach his...
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