The Great Gatsby The American Dream Analysis

916 words - 4 pages

The American Dream The Great Gatsby, set during the Roaring Twenties, illustrates the beliefs, values, and ideals of the American population at that time. F. Scott Fitzgerald cleverly weaves an intricate story about these beliefs, values, and ideals, better known as the "American Dream." What once existed as a goal worked toward with aspiration, determination, and faith, the dream has changed into an insatiable desire for the money, wealth, and prosperity that has formed the essential underworld of American upper-class society. By analyzing high society during the 1920s through the eyes of narrator Nick Carraway and juxtaposing the original aspects with the new aspects of Jay Gatsby's dream, ...view middle of the document...

He relentlessly strives to reach Daisy, from the moment he "[stretches] out his arms toward"¦[that] single green light," symbolic of his perpetual hope for her, to the final days of his life, patiently waiting outside Daisy's house for hours when she has already decided to abandon her affair with him. Gatsby "[comes] alive" to Nick, "delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor," when he realizes the incredible and endless pursuit Gatsby takes on for his dream. Despite the fact that Gatsby retains the purest trait of his dream, eternal hope, he still loses his chance of ever achieving his goal when he attempts to reach it by wearing the dream's modern face. His spiritual quest for Daisy, his "holy grail," degenerates into a financial quest when he believes that he must have an extravagant and ostentatious appearance in order to prove his worth to her. Similarly, the spiritual pursuit of the American Dream degenerates into a simple materialistic search for more wealth and power.Fitzgerald attributes the depravity of the modern dream to wealth, privilege, and the emptiness of humanity that those aspects create. Money takes its place as the central proponent of the dream's destruction, replacing aspiration, determination, and faith with materialism. This replacement is evident in Gatsby's use of illegal practices and underground connections to attain his enormous fortune. His ostentatious parties, boundless mansion, and lavish clothing all represent the corruption of his beliefs, values, and ideals. His ability to evade the law, demonstrated when a police officer ignores his traffic...

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