Failure In The American Dream In The Great Gatsby By F. Scoot Fitzgerald

1265 words - 5 pages

The American Dream as shown in The Great Gatsby has been proven by F. Scott Fitzgerald to be an unattainable belief in the “Pursuit of Happiness” through the fault of morality. Typically, happiness is being content with ones standing in life regarding wealth, family, love, class, and friendship. Throughout the 1920’s, the decline in morality had shaped the dream into a materialistic goal by accumulating wealth, love, social class, friendship and power. The novel never mentions a specific dream or goal that was to be obtained, only the idea. Bewley has stated, “In Gatsby’s America, the dream is undefined to itself.” (Bewley 12). The American Dream is not something that is merely obtained. It is much like a destination; the journey is what makes the dream come to life. Focal characters such as Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom, each go through a journey to understand what happiness is and how their morality ultimately failed them in the end. Each character wants what they cannot have. Although the characters are thought to have no morals at all, it is the morals they have that lead them to understand they cannot be happy with themselves.
Gatsby’s theory of happiness was based on the idea of wealth, love, and power. Residing on the West Egg, home to the new rich – his intentions were questionable. Without fully disclosing where his money came from, most assumed Gatsby earned his wealth from the Prohibition. Something money could not buy was power. Although those who lived in the West Egg were extremely wealthy, they did not hold the power that those from the East Egg held. Power came from old wealth, money brought down from generation. Having already obtained wealth, the only thing he needed was power and love. To obtain power, he needed something or rather, someone to link him to the East Egg: Daisy. Not only did she have power, Daisy had the appearance, social class, and a life structured by the East Egg. Also, Gatsby and Daisy had a semi relationship when they were younger. Although Daisy had her husband Tom and her child Pammy, Gatsby did not mind to infringe within their life to accomplish his goal. If they were to be together as a family, he would have the wealth, love, and power that he was looking for. Gatsby knew that Daisy being the callow soul she was, she could possibly fall for his plan. Lavish parties were thrown not only to ingratiate everyone, but using them as an innuendo for Daisy to be lured into Gatsby’s plans. Through the parties, the wealth, and careless spending, Gatsby’s focus was on Daisy – his symbol of happiness. Although Gatsby had a solid plan, he failed with his morality. Even though Daisy was only a symbol of love, Gatsby couldn’t accept the fact that she would not give up Tom – even if she didn’t really love him to begin with. “The dazzle of the dream leaves his eyes too weak to gaze on ordinary life. Daisy’s value for him is purely symbolic; like his shirts or his servants she means nothing in herself.” (Barbour 71). Even if...

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