The Great Gatsby: The Decline of the American Dream

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby Pages: 2 (421 words) Published: March 2, 2014
Megan Moore
Dr. Wood
2/16/14

The Great Gatsby: The Decline of the American Dream

Following the much adored novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, came the phenomenal screenplay of The Great Gatsby, released in May, 2013. 1920's America boomed with unprecedented prosperity and material excess as stock markets skyrocketed and spirits rang high. The film, however, focuses on a much larger underlying theme that is a highly symbolic rumination of the entirety of America in the 1920's: the disintegration of the American dream. This decline came about rapidly, in step with the decay of social and moral values, empty hypocrisy of the aristocracy, and the vainness of the upperclass.

Upon the beginning of the movie, Jay Gatsby (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio) is in a thwarted love with a woman named Daisy. Their love masks the true, main theme, where seemingly everyone is in a greedy scramble for wealth. As hindered by the portrayal of much the opposite, the American dream was originally about individualism, discovery, and the pursuit of happiness. In the 1920s depicted in the movie, however, demoralized social values and easy money have completely corrupted this dream. Dreams are constantly being ruined by the unworthiness of their objects.

The carnage caused by the clash of "old" and "new" money manifests between the aristocracy and the self-made rich. The Buchanan's represent the established aristocracy, observed as vain and gaudy figures, while Gatsby is a kind-hearted self proclaimed millionaire due to his fancy in bootlegging and organized crime. The wealthy families of old scorn those newly rich simply because they came by it illegally. The wealthy criticize the wealthy in a confrontation of empty hypocrisy.

What the "old money" possesses in taste, it seems to lack in heart. They shape into inconsiderate bullies, and when Gatsby dies due to his good qualities, their bad qualities allow them to remove themselves from this reality. They removed themselves...
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