The Great Gatsby American Dream

Better Essays
The Great Gatsby:
Corruption of the American Dream Historian James Truslow Adams says that “the American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." Adams distinguishes between the pure American Dream and the corrupted American Dream. The pure American Dream is defined to be about equal opportunity for all people and a richer and fuller life of happiness and satisfaction with what they have. The corrupted American Dream opposes the pure American Dream by being based on luxury and popularity. In the novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the American Dream to expose its corruption. Fitzgerald intelligently uses the motif of affectation to develop the theme of the corrupted American Dream. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses affectation to enhance the theme of the corrupted American Dream. The character James Gatsby, formerly known as Jay Gatz, is a great example of the corrupted American Dream due to his affected behaviour and luxuries. Gatsby tends to show off how much money he has through the things he owns and showing society what he is capable of with that money. He throws lavish parties for people he does not know and lives in a mansion that “was a colossal affair by any standard with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden” (Fitzgerald, 5). Gatsby’s house is an affectation of his



Cited: Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1980.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Powerful Essays

    The Real American Dream Since its institution, the United States has been revered as the ultimate land of ceaseless opportunity. People all around the world immigrated to America to seek quick wealth, which was predominately seen in the new Modern era. Beginning in the late 1800's to the early 1900's, the period introduced progressive ideas into society and the arts. Accompanying these ideas was a loss of faith in the American Dream and the promise America once guaranteed, especially after World…

    • 1413 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    The ‘American Dream’ in The Great Gatsby It has been said that “people are so busy dreaming the American Dream, fantasizing about what they could be or have a right to be, that they’re all asleep at the switch, [the American man has lost his focus]” <www.thinkexist.com>. What exists behind the vision of the American Dream is a paralleled unreality. Humans are dreamers, and desires often create beliefs in people’s minds that lead them to strongly believe in a successful outcome. Unfortunately…

    • 2127 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    THE GREAT GATSBY AND THE AMERICAN DREAM The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is an excellent demonstration of life among the new rich during the 1920s, with people who had freshly accumulated an immense amount of fortune but had no subsequent social networks. The novel is a fascinating account about love, money and life during the 1920s in New York. It demonstrates the society and the accompanying principles, values, and dreams of the American population at that time. These principles, values…

    • 1162 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Pursuit of Happiness." This sentiment can be considered the foundation of the American Dream, the dream that everyone has the ability to become what he or she desires to be. While many people work to attain their American dream, others believe that the dream is seemingly impossible to reach, like F. Scott Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby examines the "Jazz-Age" generation's search for the elusive American Dream of wealth and happiness and scrutinizes the consequences of that generation's…

    • 1450 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    False? The “American Dream”, defined as a perfect job, family life, social status, house, and many other things; is it all true, or is it an impossible lie? Through two unique uses of character and plot, Fitzgerald in “The Great Gatsby and Dunning in Want To Fly, these two authors show two different yews points of the “American Dream”. Even though The Great Gatsby lacks character development, the enriched plot makes up for it. N the book its shows that the pursuit of the “American Dream” is better…

    • 505 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Death of the American Dream in the Great Gatsby World War I brought out the deepest, darkest, most malignant tendencies of human nature. Young men died in the thousands on the battlefield, martyrs of a wanton cause. 1920’s American society mirrored the Great War’s atmosphere of excess. The newly wealthy class, in onslaught, threw lavish parties and indulged in sexual promiscuity as exorbitance became the new state religion. Traditional values, including that of the American Dream, seemed to crumble;…

    • 1378 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald presents all the characters and their individual American Dreams. The novel took place in the 1920s, post-World War I, where American pride, wealth, luxuries, and all other superficialities were glorified. During this time, the American people became ambitious, and economic success was made their main goal. The notion of “money can buy happiness” was prominent and people of all walks of life believed in it. While this may have seemed like a positive outlook…

    • 1194 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Nathaniel Danquah Mrs. Mukerjee American Literature: Period #6 4/19/13 The Great Gatsby and the American Dream As defined by many Americans themselves, the American Dream interpreted as having financial security and prosperity. It is having it promises self-fulfillment as a reward for hard work and self-reliance. However, it can still be interpreted in different ways. In my personal opinion, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald only depicts the corruption of Dream. Fitzgerald shows this through…

    • 576 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Great Gatsby and the 'American Dream' In Francis Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby the concept of the 'American Dream' appears in two ways. On the one hand Fitzgerald's view and imagination of the American Dream and on the other and, within the plot, Gatsby as the 'possible' personified American Dream come true.<O:P</O:P Francis Scott Fitzgerald practically puts the notion of the American Dream on the same level as 'human dream'. But more remarkable is the fact that Fitzgerald's concept…

    • 360 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Robinson, “The American Dream, the idea of the happy ending, is an avoidance of responsibility and commitment” (http://www.brainyquote.com). What Robinson is saying is that a lot of people expect to achieve the American Dream, i.e. happiness, through the accumulation of external things, meanwhile avoiding the true origins of happiness, which are internal. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby’s character also faces this dilemma as he reaches for the American Dream, believing that…

    • 1344 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays