The American Dream In The Great Gatsby, The Complete Poems Of Emily Dickinson, And Huckleberry Finn - Gilman English - Essay

1377 words - 6 pages

CAT Paper
From the dawn of its creation, the United States of America was
built upon the ideals of liberty. Those values of freedom manifested
themselves throughout the centuries in what became known as the
‘American Dream’. This notion encompassed all the incredible
possibilities realized by the first settlers of the continent, the
understanding that anyone and everyone had the chance to pursue their
goals. Yet, for most of the people, it was not the goal that brought them
what they desired but the journey it took to achieve that goal. Literary
movements reflect the ideals held true by the people of a specific period
in time. Over the course of American history, authors from different
literary movements each described this journey as an underlying theme
to their work although the values of the movements changed as time
progressed. The works, The Great Gatsby by Mark Twain, poem 843 in
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, and Mark Twain's
Huckleberry Finn represent the literary movements of both Modernism
and Realism yet all portray this underlying theme. Throughout history,
the people of our country have prospered, not from attaining their
individual goals but the journey that ensues chasing those goals. Yet,
people measure their prosperity on whether or not they have succeeded
in their goal. The success of the American people has not solely been
based on the attainment of their dreams, but perhaps even more so from
the pursuit of those dreams.
The novel, The Great Gatsby, centers around one major theme:
Gatsby’s continuous quest for the Daisy he met when he was a soldier in
Louisville. For five years after he met Daisy, every action he did was to
ensure his way back to her, or more accurately the version of her with
him in Louisville(1.3). He worked tirelessly to achieve his goal, and he
eventually got Daisy to not only say she loved him, but to admit she
would leave Tom to be with him.(1.2) However, it was not enough for
Gatsby. He continued to push harder, to reach out farther and demand
that she say she never loved Tom, that their relationship was in the exact
same place as it was five years prior. On the final page of The Great
Gatsby, while summing up this entire venture, Fitzgerald writes, “the
green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It
eluded us then, but that’s no matter - to-morrow we will run faster,
stretch our arms farther”(Fitzgerald 180). In this quote, Fitzgerald
reiterates a symbol used often throughout the novel, the green light at the
end of the Buchanan’s dock as a symbol of Daisy five years prior. He
gives a very vivid description of the goal, this “orgastic future”. Here,
‘orgastic’ implies an intense, almost unrestrained physical and emotional
sensation. This word, coupled with ‘future’ relays the message that when
Gatsby achieves this goal, his resulting happiness will be almost
uncontrollable.(2.3) Fitzgerald employs the word ‘recede’ to suggest that
this goal contin...

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