'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 make. Some of the sacrifices they make include money, relationships, emotions, property and living standards.Over the years money has become a continual issue in the lives of many people, and for some it affects their everyday happiness. In the Great Gatsby, the idea that money means everything presents readers with an image that the American Dream is extremely materialistic. Daisy can't marry Gatsby to begin with because he doesn't have a lot of money. Because of this, Gatsby tries over the years to gain great wealth to regain Daisy as his companion. In American Beauty, both Caroline and Lester work all the time to earn a lot of money to be well off in society to portray the image of wealth. Neither of them enjoys nor is content with the jobs that they have and this affects all aspects of their life including their family relationships.The relationships and individual has, effects how they interact with society. People often sacrifice these relationships to project an image that seems better suited to their society. In American Beauty, Caroline and Lester sacrifice their relationship with one another to portray and image of prosperity rather than how they really feel. Over the years they have become so caught up with the idea of looking well off that they have forgotten about the emotions of their partner and their relationship falters because of this. In the Great Gatsby, Gatsby sacrifices his relationships with his father and his childhood relationships to pursue Daisy and the American Dream and an economically stable man. He forgets his roots, who he really is and his true emotions. In both texts we get a glimpses into the history of the characters, when we hear of Gatsby dresser with the photos, newspaper articles, golden brush etc and in the movie we see all the family photos, and these remind us that these characters did have relationships but they have been put aside to pursue the American Dream.The American Dream can be said to be the Art of Sacrifice. Art implies that everything is created as a gesture and mimic of society. In the Great Gatsby we are presented with numerous occasions where people act rather that show the true emotions. Gatsby is always trying to act as a true gentleman and this can be seen when he constantly uses the phrase 'old sport'. He sacrifices his true opinion of the person to come across as a great man. Another gesture that makes his appear to be a real gentleman is when he buys the dress for the girl who ripped hers at one of his parties. In American Beauty, the...

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