This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Discussion Of The American Dream As Represented In "American Beauty" And "The Great Gatsby"

1491 words - 6 pages

The American Dream in American BeautyThe concept of a blanket American Dream to suit all people is exposed as wrong in Mendes's American Beauty. By building a conformist community where the perception as opposed to actual happiness is chased, is a key theme in the film. The director uses characterisation to explore the effect the American Dream has had on the three central characters. Mendes challenges the credibility of such a blanket dream, and the concept of spirituality and beauty being lost in the process of blindly chasing a perceived goal of happiness.The context of the film and the American dream evolves around the white picket fence, money, and lastly youth. Due to the conformist community where the film is set- established by setting and the row of endless similar looking houses, the characters in the film do not know what they want exactly. Some become so self-centred that they lose sight of beauty and happiness, and ultimately follow a blind path to what seems like happiness. Caroline is the wife, and through characterization, acting and dialogue, is portrayed as a self centred, money driven person. She likens self worth to business success. The character is similar to many in the context of the film, where women enter the workforce, and become extremely career driven. Though she is completely unhappy, she follows the philosophy of "to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times". This follows on the theme explored in both texts of reality versus illusion. Mendes uses the prop of the seemingly commonplace plastic bag to contrast with the Lolita like conventional beauty of Angela. From the outside, and the context the film, it would seem Angela possesses beauty. However Mendes through characterization portrays Angela as an illusion, and uses the unconventional object of the plastic bag to symbolize beauty.Illusion versus reality is explored in Lester's lust for Angela. She is the external catalyst that prompts Lester to step out of his catatonic state, and chase happiness. However she is the conventional beauty, and not what Lester is actually seeking. However, due to the context where external beauty is seen as beauty, Lester lusts for her, and youth. The American dream evolves from money to youth- something that can't be bought. The music used to accompany Lester's fantasy tunnels, tell the audience the relationship is wrong. The film is slowed down, and the motif of caressing hands suggests the eroticism of Angela, but ultimately she is just Lester's lolita, and when he does eventually undress her, he sees the vulnerability and innocence in her. Angela likens happiness to popularity and sex. "there's nothing worse in life than being ordinary". There is irony in the fact that she herself is a virgin, but speaks very smuttily to Jane.Mendes explores the evolution of the American Dream and the conflict surrounding it. His omission of a lower or upper class suggests monetary equality has been achieved. However, the...

Find Another Essay On A discussion of the american dream as represented in "American Beauty" and "The Great Gatsby"

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby and "Winters Dream"

2112 words - 8 pages Dreams." The illusion and the empty promises of the American dream is exploited by Fitzgerald in his Novel and short story by his exemplary use of symbols, his ability to depict greed and corruption within his characters, and his depiction of the balance of hope.Fitzgerald has an incredible ability to use symbols within his writings to serve as a deeper meaning. In The Great Gatsby the green light and valley of ashes both represent the illusion of

'How is the American Dream portrayed in the texts 'The Great Gatsby' and the film 'American Beauty'?

1071 words - 4 pages The American Dream is said to be the ultimate state to be in. it, however, requires a person to make numerous sacrifices to achieve this state and many people don't see how flawed and unrealistic it is. The noel The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, and the movie American Beauty by Mendes, explore the notion of the flawed American Dream and demonstrate how the relationship between the individual and their society us responsible for the sacrifices they

The Great Gatsby and the “American Dream”

1009 words - 5 pages the “American Dream”. The "American dream" can be explained simply as a better life obtained through hard work and determination. It is supposed to result in happiness for whoever achieves the dream. However, this “American Dream” can have different meanings to everyone. This includes two of the main characters of The Great Gatsby: Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Each character had a distinct interpretation of the “American Dream”. The title

The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

1904 words - 8 pages does not return to the traditional values on which it was built, it may suffer a fate similar to that of Gatsby.Since its inception, America and the American Dream have been synonymous with "prosperity ... as a reward for hard work and self-reliance" (Andron). In the 1920s however, this vision loses its meaning. "The Great Gatsby sketches the evolution from a ... continent with a spirit ... to a place of nightmare, exhaustion and death" (Leone 124

The American Dream in the Great Gatsby

2295 words - 10 pages retelling of a generations old story, that themes in history continue to have a strange way of repeating themselves. The rise and fall of the stock market in the twenties as depicted in The Great Gatsby and as a stapled point in American history exemplifies Jay Gatsby’s gain of wealth which propels him into a spiraling world of newly found success and shrouds his character into more mystery. The stock market of the twenties represented then as a

The Great Gatsby and The American Dream

1444 words - 6 pages --as Gatsby's go-ahead sign, as money, as the "green breast of the new world," as springtime--is strategically placed in chapters one, five, and nine.(Bryant,515). Also Fitzgerald illustrates the American Dream and its corruption is through the hollowness of the upper class. The Great Gatsby really study wealth. It was two different depictions of wealth. The time frame really played a key in wealth. The two wealth indicated in the novel was the

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby

1497 words - 6 pages has not changed. The American dream made up of freedom, equality, and opportunity has greatly impacted literature and history and how the world works. Literature teaches us that over time these three things have changed and has made the world a different place. As the American dream changes, so will everything else. American literature teaches people of today's times how the American dream has evolved and how it has affected the world around it. Works Cited American Literature Text book, The Great Gatsby

"The Great Gatsby" and The American Dream

1487 words - 6 pages Discovery, Individualism, and the pursuit of happiness, this is the American Dream. Or at least what it used to be. People live their whole lives trying to accomplish this dream, but few actually do, why? How are the odds not in the favor of a million and more citizens? It's because the American Dream no longer exists. Laziness, easy money, and light-hearted values have corrupted the American Dream. "The Great Gatsby" at first seems like a story

"The Great Gatsby" and the American Dream

676 words - 3 pages A chance to better oneself; the American Dream allowed anyone, rich or poor to succeed in life. During the twenties, many poor attempted to better themselves by getting a secure job, starting a family and owning a home and a car with the aim of joining the upper class citizens of America. Many works of literature depict this idea of "poverty to riches" by way of the American Dream. In the novel, "The Great Gatsby", Jay Gatsby, formerly James

The Great Gatsby and the American Dream

1044 words - 5 pages general populous in the 1920s.She is obviously a successful woman who became rich as she is a professional golfer. The greed she portrays in this scene is hinting that the fact that she used the ideal of greed instead of hardworking to achieve her success.Her willingness to attain what she wants at other peoples expenses is what makes her succeed.This shows how her personal American Dream, and in turn the general American Dream of the 1920s, is flawed. Works Cited "David Kamp." Vanity Fair. N.p., Apr. 2009. Web. 1 Apr. 2014. Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and Matthew J. Bruccoli. The Great Gatsby. New York, NY: Scribner, 1996. Print

The Great Gatsby and The American Dream

508 words - 3 pages The long sought, after "American Dream" may have only been a dream for Gatsby. He simply wanted too much of what really isn't there. A minor changing of the past is what really led to the demise of his dream. Daisy was under much stress, and her ability to think clearly was clouded. Instead of letting things work out with Daisy and Tom, Gatsby decided to intervene, ultimately crushing his hopes of ever being with Daisy.Due to Americans being

Similar Essays

The Great Gatsby And American Beauty, The American Dream

1001 words - 4 pages Anyone can succeed through hard work and persistence. That was the original American Dream, and that notion has somewhat been at the heart of American culture through history. However, composers F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of 'The Great Gatsby' (1926), and Sam Mendes, director of the movie 'American Beauty' (1999), explain in their texts that the pursuit of the American Dream is futile. In addition, Fitzgerald shows that subscribing to it leads

Comparative Study Of Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" And Sam Mendes' "American Beauty" In Relation To The American Dream

1331 words - 5 pages concerning the dream. Undoubtedly as time progresses one's interpretation of society, and the progression of society itself will change, however the defilation of the Dream seems to be one constant factor that has evidently had a profound effect on authors. This essay highlights the shift in context and values and attitudes presented in two well-known texts, the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925) and Sam Mendes' film American Beauty

The American Dream As Shown In The Novels The Grapes Of Wrath And The Great Gatsby

572 words - 2 pages America: a land of endless wealth, and the dream; a dream of endless opportunity, is not depicted as such in the books The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby. The Dream is instead portrayed as hypocritical in the assumption that spiritual satisfaction is always accompanied material gain.In The Great Gatsby America is shown as a land of dreams that is undeniably corrupted by materialism to such a degree that even the image of god (the blue eyes

The Great Gatsby As An Exploration Of The American Dream

2053 words - 8 pages The Great Gatsby as an Exploration of the American Dream         The American Dream lies deeply rooted in the American cultural imagination. The idea behind the Dream is that if an individual is sufficiently determined, he or she has a fair chance of achieving wealth, and the freedom and happiness that go with it. Essentially, it offers the opportunity of achieving spiritual and material fulfillment. "Although these ideals can be traced