Casting Doubt Upon The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

951 words - 4 pages

Casting Doubt Upon the American Dream in The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby' is set in the Jazz Age of America, the 1920s which have come to be seen as a bubble of extravagance and affluence which burst with the Wall Street Crash in 1929. Fitzgerald wrote the book in 1925, and in it he explores the fundamental hollowness which characterized the Age as he saw it, and casts doubt upon the very core of American national identity - the American Dream.The American Dream is a concept elegantly simple and yet peculiarly hard to define. At the root of it is the sense that America was created entirely separate from the Old World; the settlers had escaped from the feudal, fractious and somewhat ossified nations of Europe and been presented with a chance to start anew - "a fresh green breast of the new world." From this blank slate, those first idealistic settlers had created a society where "all men are created equal" and everyone had the chance to do the best for themselves as they could. Let us examine the passage from the Declaration of Independence from which that quote is taken:"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."A fine and daring ideal in the 18th century, and at the heart of what America hoped that it stood for. 'The Great Gatsby' examines how this dream existed in the early 20th century and whether or not it had been accomplished. The American Dream permeated all of society, and so every one of the characters in the book is in some senses a reflection of the world envisaged by Jefferson and Washington, and even before them by those first people fleeing to a new life in the New World.When we examine the characters in the book we can immediately see that they are not all born equal. Daisy and Tom, and to some extent Nick, are born into a rich, 'old money' environment which is symbolized in the novel by the established wealth of East Egg - a place of glittering "white palaces". Gatsby and the Wilsons are not 'old money', and despite Gatsby's wealth we get the impression throughout the book that through all his parties and social events he is trying to join that old clique, but never succeeding in elevating himself to the "distinguished secret society" of Tom and Daisy.Interestingly, neither Tom nor Daisy appear to have been made happy by this money. Daisy admits to Nick that she has "had a very bad time... I'm pretty cynical about everything". Tom too seems discontented. He was a sports star when he was younger and has spent the rest of his life since...

Find Another Essay On Casting Doubt Upon the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

The Death of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

2232 words - 9 pages Ms. OgarekHonors EnglishPeriod 5May 5, 2005The Death of the American DreamWebster's Dictionary defines the American dream as an American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity. This dream started as our country started. Our founding fathers had a dream of an America with equal opportunities. This dream was interpreted by those in Europe as an easy way to make money and a good way of life. Immigrants came to...

The Fall of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

1794 words - 7 pages The Roaring 20's was an era of decadence and endless possibility. The American Dream was something that everyone coveted. Essentially, The American Dream meant that anyone who had the talent and worked hard enough, could achieve it. Money, a loving spouse, and status all showed that a person had been successful in their life and were vital points to the American Dreams of the Characters in the Great Gatsby. Many of them strived in their own...

The Emptiness of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

1467 words - 6 pages Jay Gatsby’s sole purpose in life is to achieve the American Dream: to become a land owner, married to the love of his life, who live in comfort and abundance. However, he never gets everything he wants as his love for Daisy is not as fully reciprocated as he wishes it to be. His dream, and the one Nick pursues as well, are only dreams in the end. The culture of the time only gives empty fulfillment with no real substance. The people, like their...

Corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

1576 words - 6 pages April 7, 2014Corruption of the American Dream in The Great GatsbyENG 3UMatthew MayMrs. K. BentleyEssay OutlineThesis: In The Great Gatsby , the American Dream has been corrupted by the desire for wealth.Introduction• The Great Gatsby shows that the American Dream has been corrupted by the desire for wealth.First Paragraph• The Buchanans are both corrupted by money, even though they have "fulfilled" their dream.• Their money cannot...

Unethical Pursuit of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

957 words - 4 pages Within life, there are moments where one begins to question one’s ideals. Whether these beliefs are ones taught through social interaction and experience or are religious in nature, most of us, humanity, come to a time in life where one’s perception of life challenges the foundations of one’s strongest and, often times, longest held convictions. Sometimes, the questioning and examination of these convictions often lead one to a sense of...

"The American Dream" in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

1133 words - 5 pages 1. IntroductionF. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby (1925) is regarded as the most outstanding work among his novels concerning the aspects of both its thoughts and artistry. Its theme is closely related to the time and opens a window for the reader to examine the 1920s America. The seeming post-war prosperity cannot hide the actual vanity and avoid the failure of the American Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts the flaws of Gatsby's dream and...

Fitzgerald's Exploration of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

722 words - 3 pages Fitzgerald's Exploration of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is a one of the best stories written during a chaotic period in our nation’s history, The Jazz Age. The Twenties were a time of social experiments, self-indulgence, and dissatisfaction for majority of Americans. Fitzgerald depicts all these characteristics throughout the novel with his interesting themes, settings, and characters....

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

1652 words - 7 pages The American Dream in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald The American Dream is the fantasy of complete independence and self-reliance mixed with the opportunity to attain wealth through one's labours. On the surface, this dream seems almost enchanted, offering people the unique prospect of achieving success regardless of one's race, religion or family history. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an immortal...

The Great Gatsby : The American Dream

791 words - 3 pages      Perception and reality do not always align. Is true love really true love, or is it a farce, a self-created mythical re-interpretation of the thing we hold so dear? In The Great Gatsby, is Gatsby really in love with Daisy, or his vision of her? Does she feel the same way for him, or does she truly love him? And what does the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock mean to Gatsby?      As...

The Great Gatsby and The American Dream

1444 words - 6 pages The Great Gatsby brings a picture of the American society during the 1920's. This is a critical decade where the view of the American Dream has been transformed from the ideal dream to a materialistic dream. The view of the American Dream was always about coming from the bottom and working your way to the top. It was once based on discovery, self- reliance and happiness. The old American Dream before corruption allowed you to gain love, high...

The American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

1145 words - 5 pages The American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a brilliant illustration of life among the new rich during the 1920s, people who had recently amassed a great deal of wealth but had no corresponding social connections. The novel is an intriguing account about love, money and life during the 1920s in New York. It illustrates the society and the associated beliefs, values and dreams of...

Similar Essays

The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

1904 words - 8 pages As far back as colonial times when the courageous Dutch sailors first saw the fresh green islands of New York, America has always promised prosperity and self-fulfillment in return for hard work and dedication. However, when World War I finally ended, the American Dream began to wither away. Americans became more interested in pursuing materialistic goals such as wealth and prestige and lost sight of the true purpose of the dream. In The Great...

The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

1497 words - 6 pages American literature is much different from literature most authors write today. American literature has meaning and a sturdy purpose. Three words with important meaning in society appear in American literature. The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint is the legal definition of freedom. Freedom allows people to express anything or do anything they want to if it doesn't offend people and as...

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...

The American Dream In The Great Gatsby And "Winters Dream"

2112 words - 8 pages Mitch TerrellMrs. KangasHonors English, Hour 33-24-14The American Dream or an OnionThe American Dream is an endless onion. One will find endless layers of the American dream onion to peel back in order to grasp for an unattainable center. Only tears will be achieved from this endless peeling of the onion's layers. F. Scott Fitzgerald believed this metaphor to be true and that is evident in his Novel The Great Gatsby and his short story "Winter...