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 most elaborate and symbolic character Fitzgerald presents to his readers is Jay Gatsby. Fitzgerald uses Gatsby as a vehicle to explore the idea of The American Dream, which was a key element in shaping American society and it’s citizens. Fitzgerald does not sugar-coat his definition of the American Dream, but lets his protagonist voice these elements and its decline, challenging the reader to explore the true nature of America in the 1920s.
Jay Gatsby, like many average Americans, has a dream of becoming successful and noble. In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby decides to pursue The American Dream as a young adult. Gatsby came from a poor social class, which forced him to work hard even though he would receive no high status in life. Gatsby knew this, but always remained very ambitious and refused to settle for a life of “janitor’s work”. It wasn’t until Jay was 17 years old when he found his real inspiration to become successful. Before World War I, Jay Gatsby met Daisy and fell instantly in love with her. Unfortunately for Gatsby, Daisy came from a wealthy family, and he knew he had no chance of marrying her with his poor status. Gatsby’s love and longing for Daisy then became his motivation to become wealthy, high classed, and successful. Gatsby does reach the element of gaining wealth and success, but his ambition is only half met. It is the full achievement of his goal which will soon lead to the destruction of his life.
Gatsby refuses to not meet his aspirations and will fulfill his dream by any means necessary. Although Gatsby’s intentions and motivation to become successful are pure, the way he...