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Gatsby and the American Dream

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Darren Pilato

Advanced Writing 201

Gatsby Paper

The American Dream is what we all aspire to achieve. The idea of starting off with nothing and to become something has caused millions of people from all corners of the world to immigrate to this country for over 300 years. However, what exactly is the American Dream? F Scott Fitzgerald answers this question within his novel The Great Gatsby. Through the eyes of Nick Carraway, Fitzgerald analyses the high class of the 1920s and reveals that the American Dream has been distorted from a pure ideal of security into a convoluted scheme of materialistic power. Fitzgerald incorporates the aspects of both the Тold dreamУ & the Тnew dreamУ in his tragic story to depicts how the inflexible dream has been corrupted and lost forever.

Fitzgerald illustrates in The Great Gatsby that the qualities of the original dream are perseverance and hope. The most glorified of these characteristics is that of success against all odd. The ethic of hard work can be found in the life of the young James Gatz. His focus on becoming a great man is thoroughly depicted in his ТHopalong CassidyУ journal. When Mr. Gatsby showed the tattered book to Nick, Mr. Gatsby said, ТJimmy was bound to get ahead. He always has some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what heХs got about improving his mind? He was always great for thatУ. The ТHopalong CassidyУ symbolizes the continual struggle for self-improvement, which has been the basis of America a land of opportunity.

Social Classes have always been apparent in civilization and America in the 1920s is no exception. Often those who rank in the lower classes usually feel that their problems will be resolved if they gain enough wealth to reach the upper class. This then offers a false connotation that the American Dream is this passage into to high social status and upon reaching that level, you are then able to abandon all economic worries. However, the American Dream involves more than acquiring wealth and a high social status. The dream involves attaining a balance between the spiritual strength and the physical strength of an individual. In the end of this book Jay GatsbyХs ultimate goal to have Daisy love him never comes to fruition solely because he chooses to pursue his dream by engaging in a lifestyle of high class.

The product of hard work is the longing Jay Gatsby, who contains the purest characteristics of the American Dream: everlasting hope. GatsbyХs true aspiration to win DaisyХs love symbolizes the basis of the old dream: an ethereal dream and a never ending search for the opportunity to achieve that goal. When the reader is first introduced in the novel, we see him Тstanding with his hands in his pocketsУ and supposedly Тout to determine what share is his of our local heavensУ. Nick watches GatsbyХs movements and comments: ТHe stretches out his arms toward the dark in a curious way, and as far as I can swear he is trembling. Involuntarily I glance seaward-and distinguish nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might be the end of the dockУ

GatsbyХs dream give him a purpose in life and sets him apart from the rest of the wealthy class on Long Island. He never gives up his pursuit to win over Daisy; from the moment he is seen reaching towards her house in East Egg to the final days of his life, patiently waiting outside DaisyХs house for hours when she has already decided to abandon her affair with him. Gatsby is the only character that retains the purest traits of the old dream, but loses in the end by attempting to achieve his dream by transposing his original ambition into the dreamХs modern state.

After Jay Gatsby return from World War I, he realizes to live a life of high class you must make money the top priority; wealth in-turn becomes GatsbyХs superficial goal overshadowing his quest for love. He creates a necessity to become fantastically wealthy, which will enable him to be with Daisy.

Money is clearly identified as the central advocate of the dreamХs destruction; it becomes easily entangled with hope and success, inevitably replacing the American Dream with materialism. In GatsbyХs case, his use of illegal practices and underground connections to attain his enormous fortune. His lavish parties, gigantic mansion and extravagant clothing are all signs of his unknown corruption. While GatsbyХs attempt rise to the upper class is symbolic of the nature of the new dream, the qualities of the new dream are most prolific in Daisy and Tom Buchanan, who live their lives with no hopes or regrets, because the basis of their characters is their wealth. Daisy is never heard from again after Tom says to Nick ТI told him the truthЙwhat if I did tell him?Й That fellow had it coming to himУ. Tom admits that he is responsible for GatsbyХs murder and WilsonХs suicide, however he claims to be innocent due to the fact he has never known guilt or shame as a member of the established elite. Through Nick, Fitzgerald portrays the effects the modern dream has on the upper class, condemning an entire group of people and its revered society:

ТI couldnХt forgive him or like him but I saw what he had done was, to him, entirely justifiedЙThey were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had madeЙУ

Tom and Daisy symbolize the class of heartless citizens how became successful at the price of dehumanization. Their opulence prevented them from ever having true emotions, which resulted in a world apathy, which was supported by their status and



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