AP English Lang & Comp
Decline of the American Dream
The true American dream is dead and the sad part is, there is the ability to resurrect it, but current perceptions of the American dream will never allow it. When looking back at what people perceived as the American Dream, it was vastly different. The original American dream consists of two ideals of family and an unending pursuit of success. Early American immigrants would come to America, the land of opportunity, to escape suppressive leaders in Europe and start anew. People would pursue what would be coined as “the American Dream,” an idea where they could gain success from working hard and achieve individualistic goals like self-betterment and the ability to be self-reliant. Emerging in the 1920s, a new interpretation of the American Dream surfaced. Concentrated primarily on wealth and social standing, the new American Dream formed from a new lifestyle Americans lived during the 20s. This lifestyle included new activities from the development of leisure time to creating a strong sense of materialism and social standing. The idea of the American Dream shifted in the 1920s from the ideals of family and an unending pursuit of success to a corrupt form that idealizes materialism and social standing within society to achieve happiness. The main character and narrator in The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is Nick Carraway whose lifestyle is very different from most. He lives in a small home in West egg and his neighbor is none other than the great Gatsby. Even though Nick is not rich, many of the people he regularly associates with are of high wealth like Gatsby, Tom, and Daisy. He uses this unique opportunity to assess the behavior and attitude of the upper class towards others and themselves. Nick realizes that he hates the upper class lifestyle, because of the shallow and superficial life they live. In addition, the original American dream is no longer the same;...
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