Dreaming The Dream In The Great Gatsby, And Of Mice And Men

1427 words - 6 pages

The American Dream has long been thought the pinnacle idea of American society. The idea that anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or financial status, could rise from the depths and become anything they wanted to be with no more than hard work and determination has attracted people from all around the world. Two writers from America’s past, however, have a different opinion on the once-great American Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck have given the public their beliefs on the modern Dream through the novels they have written, The Great Gatsby, and Of Mice and Men, respectively. One novel placed during the Great Depression and the other during the Roaring Twenties both illustrate how their author feels about the Dream itself through the use of many literary devices. While both novels have main characters with hopes for something better, all the characters seem to fall into the same plagued pit. Through depravity and decadence, the American Dream seems to have become exactly what its name implies: A dream, not a reality.
Through characterization, both authors illustrate their view on the American Dream. Using George as a catalyst in Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck shows how the working class of the United States strives for something better and works hard to attain their dream. “O.K. Someday – we’re gonna get the jack together and we’re gonna have a little house and a couple of acres an’ a cow and some pigs and-…” (14) George’s conversations with Lennie involving the farm that they are trying to buy show that George will not give up his pursuit of a better life, no matter what obstacles slow him down. Steinbeck also shows how friendship is part of the American Dream through George always sticking by Lennie, despite the tremendous trouble Lennie causes him. Fitzgerald also uses characterization to show how he feels about the American Dream, but in a different way. By way of a vast amount of hollow, wealth-crazed characters, Fitzgerald tells how the American Dream has decayed into a materialistic obsession associated with being successful in The Great Gatsby. However, with Gatsby, Fitzgerald shows a goal to strive for, yet Gatsby’s means are shallow and otherwise polluted. Instead of going straight to the woman he loves, Gatsby instead throws numerous parties for whomever wishes to attend in futile attempts to attract her. Even while his main dream was arguably to be wealthy and successful, his ways of obtaining such status are illegitimate and not truly fulfilling. Most characters too live unfulfilling lives. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made” (Fitzgerald, 179). Nick’s description of Tom and Daisy sums up the majority of the characters in the novel. They all feel accomplished of the wealth they posses, despite how the...

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