Gatsby’s American Dream
In the novel The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald discusses what the American dream really is and the lengths that people go to pursue it. Before World War I, the American Dream was comfortable living, a decent job, and a content family. After the war though, the nation changed along with the perception of the ideal life in America. The American Dream suddenly became an illusion, and people no longer strived for middle class, but for everything they could have. Which included material possessions along with a social status. The new American dream left people unhappy, dissatisfied, and lonely because of the difficulty in obtaining it. The pursuit of the new American dream by any means necessary comes with a price. The characters Nick, Jay, Daisy, Myrtle, George, and Tom from The Great Gatsby ultimately learned that. In the start of the story, Fitzgerald portrays Jay Gatsby as a very rich and mysterious man, known for his lavish lifestyle. When Nick is first invited to Gatsby’s party and is summoned by Gatsby, for the first time in the story, Gatsby shows his false sense of happiness. When Nick asks why he doesn’t attend his own parties he says, “I don’t like parties very much and I am not much of a host.” Gatsby’s response confused Nick, because in his eyes, he saw Gatsby as a social elite who frequently throws huge parties at his house. Nick wondered why someone who does not like parties would bother to throw one. Here, Fitzgerald establishes the dichotomy of appearances vs. reality.
To the average person, Gatsby’s lifestyle represents the epitome of the American dream. But for Gatsby, his only dream was to find love with Daisy. Becoming rich and powerful seemed to him the only way to get her back into his life. When Gatsby asks Daisy why didn’t she wait for him to get back from the war, her words were “because rich girls don’t marry poor boys.” Gatsby took this response literally but missed the larger context she was...
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