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The Death of American Dream in the Great Gatsby

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The death of American dream in The Great Gatsby

Back in 1920, every American had a dream that they will all get rich if they work hard enough, although this American dream idea did motivate lots of people and boosted America’s economy in a short time. However, quoted by Bernie Sanders, “For many, the American dream has become a nightmare.” A false belief like the American dream will eventually lead to terrible disasters. The Great Gatsby was a tragic story demonstrating the flawed American dream, Fitzgerald also hinted how he didn’t think the American dream would last through the following three pieces of evidence. The death of the dream chasers, corrupted born rich people and the gloomy, rusty mood of the novel all lead to the death of the American dream.

Gatsby had achieved the American dream in other people’s eye, he was the person who everybody wanted to become, but for himself, his own “American dream” never came alive. Gatsby’s intention to work hard and get rich is different from the typical American citizens, they want to get rich because they like all the good fancy stuff they can get with millionaire level money, however, for Gatsby it was different. Gatsby wanted money because he knows that Daisy like people with power, people with the ability to get her what she needs, so the only way for Gatsby to become this kind of person is to get rich.

Before James Gatz became Jay Gatsby, he was in a deep romantic relationship with Daisy, he was in love. After the war separates this lovely couple, Daisy got married to Tom and Gatsby went to make money. When Gatsby had enough money and power, he came back as Jay Gatsby and thinking that with all the money he had, he would be able to get Daisy back in his arms. However, our poor Gatsby, even though he devoted his life to pursuit Daisy, was eventually killed by a person he didn’t know and abandoned by Daisy.

Daisy was described as the “golden girl”, and as Nick said: “Her voice is full of money,(p.96)” she was almost like a symbol of the American dream, she was like a price that everybody thought they could get if they work hard enough. Gatsby, on the other hand, was like the people chasing this price, he was never content with what he had and always ask for more, just like the people who were chasing the American dream, they always want to take a step further, trying the take a try on the price, and this is when everything goes down. The death of Gatsby, who worked so hard for his dream, is one of the clues leading towards the dying American dream.

In addition, for the other two dream chasers, Myrtle and George, the American dream was again not friendly to them at all, Myrtle was being dragged into a dangerous situation by Tom and was eventually killed by Tom’s wife, on the other hand, the poor George Wilson, not only did he lost his wife, he also didn’t kill the right people who ruined his life, Daisy and Tom ran away.

People like Tom and Daisy who were born with wealth and power were the antagonist of the American dream. Tom and Daisy were both born with decency and wealth that no other lower class American citizens can have a touch of. They sit and enjoy the wealth they possessed, portraying an image of inverse American dream. And not only didn’t they contribute the society and help with the American dream, they also destroyed the people who were chasing the dream.

Easterners were born with money, from Nick’s description on Tom’s house, “a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay(p.9)” it is sufficient to give an evidence that Tom is extremely wealthy. Daisy, on the other hand, is the “golden girl” at all time, she sat high above anybody. Although Gatsby was such a morally better person than Tom, Daisy still chooses to refuse Gatsby and turn back to Tom, which destroyed Gatsby. Tom also destroyed one of the dream chasers, despite he was aware of the hard work and the low-class life of Wilson, he still took Wilson’s wife on his joy ride, which crush Wilson’s self-esteem and drove him crazy.

Ironically, as people who everyone wants to become, Tom and Daisy were described careless, and at the same time, they ruin others’ lives and their own’s through a series of reckless behavior. Easterners were the people who born with the “American dream”, but they didn’t help others to accomplish theirs, instead, they destroyed them, just like Tom destroyed Wilson’s dream by taking his wife and Daisy destroying Gatsby by refusing him. What is interesting is that, at the end of the story, every important dream chaser, Gatsby, Wilson and Myrtle all died because of the disaster started by the easterners. If all the dream chasers died and the rest of the born rich people get to escape and make born rich children, it might lead to a conclusion that American dream is dying because of inhuman behaviors of these born rich people.

The mood of the novel is the opposite of the American dream. From



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