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

American Dream, "The Great Gatsby", "American Beauty" (Film) Freedom & Power, Greed, Isolation & Failure

1186 words - 5 pages

The American Dream is an abstract ideal that human beings live by. The appeal of this ideal is that chasing the dream leads to freedom and power for the individual. However, through the study of the texts The Great Gatsby by Francis S. Fitzgerald and American Beauty directed by Sam Mendes, we have learnt these rewards do not come without unrespectable consequences such as greed, isolation and failure.Greed, isolation and failure can be grouped into the term corruption as it is also corruption that is the consequence of chasing the American Dream. This downfall can be seen in Jay Gatsby's high expectations. His pedestalling of 'his' dream Daisy is an example of both isolation and greed. Before he encounters Daisy, Gatsby is simply an enigma to readers as he "stands at the top of the staircase looking down on his guests" and isolates himself at his grand parties. As his dream becomes more of a reality as he meets Daisy we learn that he has pedestaled her to the point where his expectations are unachievable. Even Daisy points this out to Gatsby - "Oh you want too much! ... I love you now - isn't that enough?"The concept of living a fake life with unreal expectations is reinforced in American Beauty. The character Lester contrasts Gatsby in this aspect of the Dream as Lester aspires for not materialism, rather a life 'worth' living as he describes himself - "I feel like I've been in a coma for the past twenty years and I'm now just waking up.". The 'woken' Lester Burnham is more accepted by viewers than the 'coma' induced Lester simply because he is not corrupt. Lester's counterpart and wife, Carolyn is less accepted as she shows her love for materials and status. Her relationship with real estate "king" Buddy proves this desire that is stronger than her desire to try fixing problems with Lester. We see a small glimpse of patching up the marriage when Lester begins seducing Carolyn on the couch but is stopped as she kills the moment by warning he is about to spill his drink and scolding him how it is "not JUST a couch". Out of pure frustration, Lester shows good character by rebutting, "This isn't life, this is just stuff. And it's become more important to you than living."However, chasing the Dream does not mean one will not achieve it. Tom Buchanan and his household for example is well established indicating he has achieved his objective in life. The facade that is his physical description and the "effeminate swank of his riding clothes" reinforce his achievements in life to responders. The fact that "men at New Haven hated his guts" does not mean he has not achieved his Dream, it is simply a consequence - whether enduring consequences like Tom's is worth the Dream, it is a different issue.The dislike readers have towards Tom is similar to the dislike viewers have for Buddy as the two have parallel roles. Like Tom, Buddy has seemingly achieved the Dream as a successful real estate agent even adopting the fitting name "Real Estate King". He also has...

Find Another Essay On American Dream, "The Great Gatsby", "American Beauty" (film) - freedom & power, greed, isolation & failure

The Great Gatsby and The American Dream

1444 words - 6 pages invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end."(Fitzgerald, 105)" Lastly Fitzgerald illustrates the American Dream and its corruption is by focusing on acquiring money, and power. Gatsby's dream " is naive based on the fallacious assumption that material possessions re synonymous with happiness, harmony, and beauty" (Fahey, 70). The corrupted American

The Great Gatsby and the American Dream

1044 words - 5 pages the gradual corruption of hard work and perseverance in the American Dream by utilizing the motif of driving and incorporating it with the the ideas of greed and carelessness. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald affiliates driving with greed and carelessness by revealing Jordan Baker's selfish motive while driving and Daisy's recklessness when driving. He uses the specific incident of when Daisy kills Myrtle to portray carelessness. After a

The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

1904 words - 8 pages first taste of extortion and greed. Since this is the first example of the failure of the American Dream for him, it plants the seed in his mind that honest hard work may not always lead to a successful life.Penniless after Cody's death, Gatsby decides to enter the war. He goes to a military camp in Louisville where he meets a wealthy young girl named Daisy Faye and falls deeply in love with her. He recognizes the disparity in wealth between

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

2295 words - 10 pages for their own individuality. From these ideas was born the traditionally known American Dream. The belief that all men are created equal and that everyone has equal access to success and prosperity through hard work with flexibility between social structures. Many mediums of documentation of this way of life have both glorified and critiqued this philosophy. The most notable example of a depiction of this way of life is from the film the Great

The Great Gatsby : The American Dream

791 words - 3 pages corrupted by the seeking of money, wealth, material possession, and power, just as Daisy and Gatsby’s dreams and images of each other are.      Sometimes, love is blinding. This is exactly true for both of the characters as portrayed in the novel. Daisy is blind to the fact that Gatsby really isn’t on a solid foundation, and Gatsby’s blinded to Daisy’s shallowness. And that’s exactly what the American Dream is: just a dream.

The Great Gatsby: The American Dream

694 words - 3 pages The Great Gatsby: The American Dream The Great Gatsby, written by Scott Fitzgerald is a novel that has many themes, however the most salient one relates to the corruption of the American Dream. The American Dream is that each person no matter who he or she is can become successful in life by his or her own hard work. The dream also shows the idea of a self-sufficient man, an entrepreneur making it successful for himself. I feel The Great Gatsby

Buying the american dream: "The Great Gatsby"

1832 words - 7 pages believes he can buy happiness, he can buy Daisy, and he can achieve a level of admiration in succulent East Egg. Gatsby is an excellent personification of someone trying to buy happiness. Buying the American Dream is something that almost everyone does, yet it never works, it is never enough. LBJ believed in personal happiness. He believed that only oneself, no outside influence such as money, could make oneself happy. Therefore, " . . . Our

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

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

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

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

'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

Great Gatsby: The American Dream Essay

740 words - 3 pages The Great Gatsby: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties The Great Gatsby is a tale told by Nick Carraway, about the Roaring Twenties. In this story it shows how dreams can conquer and corrupt people’s common sense and good judgment. Throughout this book the main theme is the “American Dream”, and how the goals of society sometimes affected what the character did to accomplish their American Dream. In this story the chasing of the American Dream led

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