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Does Fitzgerald Condemn The American Dream In "The Great Gatsby?"

1372 words - 6 pages

Fitzgerald not only condemns the American Dream but sets the death and downfall of the American Dream as the primary theme of the novel. Throughout the novel Fitzgerald deliberately makes all characters with money appear to be unhappy, dysfunctional, snobbish, and immoral, thus contradicting the stereotyped idea of the American Dream. The American Dream that includes a happy family, living together, having lots of money and living happily ever after. The unhappiness of the wealthy class is portrayed by Fitzgerald's very poetic and beautiful style of writing. Gatsby's love for Daisy is shown when Gatsby is telling Nick some of his past. "His heart beat faster and faster as Daisy's ...view middle of the document...

Again, Fitzgerald shows Daisy's unhappiness and never ending quest for love towards the end of the novel when things are beginning to be made a bit clearer. "She wanted her life shaped now, immediately-and the decision must be made by some force-of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality-that was close at hand" (59). By now Daisy had been with so many men that she is tired of fooling around with every rich bachelor she met. She wanted to end this chapter in her life, get married, and move on to the next luxurious party that awaited her. So she married the next person she met, Tom Buchanan. Was she truly in love with him? Probably not, but she was desperate and lonely; she had no other option. Aren't the idolized winners of the American Dream supposed to be happy? Fitzgerald shows the disfunctionality of the rich purposely to show the fakeness and falseness of their lives. All the rich men and women cheat on their spouses without thinking twice. Daisy was aware the entire time that Tom was with another woman. One instance when Tom came back in the room after excusing himself to a mysterious phone call Daisy said very cynically, "Holding down the receiver" (122) inferring that he was talking to his girlfriend and lying to his lawful "Americanized" wife. Is deceiving your wife part of the American Dream? Gatsby is described by Nick as, "his life had been confused an disordered since then, but if he could once again return to a certain place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was." Confusion and disorder is the last thing that would be in the American Dream guidelines. By Fitzgerald including this observation by Nick, Fitzgerald's hate and need to condemn the American Dream becomes very strong and apparent to the reader. Daisy, Jordan, and the other members of the wealthy class appear to be extremely snobbish towards every person they are encountered with; yet another attempt by Fitzgerald to show that the American Dream is not all it is made out to be. At the very end of the novel Nick concludes for the final time, "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessnous or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people cleanup the mess they had" (187-8). Fitzgerald makes sure to have Nick say this at the conclusion of the novel because he wants the reader to realize on their own that living a life of the rich and famous is not all its made out to be. That the American Dream has been stereotyped and falsified throughout the years. "For Daisy was young and her...

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