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 War I. One of the renowned writers, F. Scott Fitzgerald, emerged during this period and put together The Great Gatsby “embodying…the fluid polarities of American experience: success and failure, illusion and disillusion, dream and nightmare”, which criticizes the American Dream and society (Callahan Online). In his novel, Fitzgerald condemns the concept of the American Dream and its advocates through his disillusioned characters and symbols.
Throughout the course of the novel, Fitzgerald employs the thoughts and actions of the two main opposing forces, Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan, to illustrate his attitudes toward the American Dream. Gatsby, the main character, with his undying love for Daisy and determination to win her over, represents the deteriorating American Dream. Gatsby has always envisioned a perfect life with Daisy which is his motivation to make a name for himself and acquire great wealth. Gatsby falsely assumes that his path to Daisy's heart is clear of obstructions, despite her marriage to Buchanan and the five year separation during World War I. By defining such deterrents to Gatsby's success and his ignorance towards them, Fitzgerald implies that "the problem…in the American vision of life is determining the hidden boundary at which reality ends and illusion begins" (Bewley Online). However, Fitzgerald creates an atmosphere around Gatsby which leads readers to sympathize with him, and suggests that "Gatsby is great, not just in Carraway's [mind],
Cited: Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Morton-Mollo, Sherry. “The Great Gatsby.” Cyclopedia of Literary Places. Literary Reference Center. Ebsco. CLEMENTS HIGH SCHOOL. 16 Feb. 2008 . Will, Barbara. “The Great Gatsby and the Obscene Word.” College Literature. 32.4 (Fall 2005): 125(20). Literary Reference Center. Ebsco. CLEMENTS HIGH SCHOOL. 16 Feb. 2008 .