The Defective Dream
America, as seen by settlers, was a land of unparalleled opportunity. To many however
America–or the American dream–is a wild fantasy. One of those many is F. Scott Fitzgerald who
uses his novel The Great Gatsby to depict a story of tragedy, love, and the American dream.
Daisy acts as a deep symbol of the superficial and morally questionable American dream.
Through her idealistic appearance, yet shallow nature she is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s embodiment of
the American dream in The Great Gatsby. Her idealistic appearance serves as a metaphor for the
appealing nature of the American dream, and her shallow nature conveys the ultimate lie that it
The American dream, in Fitzgerald’s portrayal, is seemingly beautiful and flawless,
however misleading. Daisy is flawless in almost all measures of the word. She is said to have a
voice that “the ear follows up and down as if each speech is an arrangement of notes that will
never be played again”(9). She is portrayed as such by Nick Carraway, however, her idealistic
appearance is the only thing that Gatsby sees. She is said to “[tumble] short of [Gatsby’s]
dreams–not through her own fault, but because of the vitality of his illusion”(95). Her charming
exterior qualities steer Gatsby’s vision of her in the wrong direction. Her outward appeal reels
Gatsby in, and like the “old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh,
green breast of the new world” she is ultimately flawed. Fitzgerald uses Daisy’s deceptive
outward appeal to depict his version of the American dream.
Daisy’s shallow nature is a large part of what makes her the Fitzgerald’s American
dream. She lacks emotional depth, and moral character; Fitzgerald uses this as a metaphor for his
version of the American dream. An instance where her shallowness shines through is in chapter
six; she finds herself at one of Gatsby’s many parties and she notes how she is “appalled by