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Losing The Dream In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Novel The Great Gatsby

1407 words - 6 pages

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby, George Wilson, and Tom Buchanan strive for contentment by achieving their American Dreams. For Gatsby, the American Dream consists of a higher social status, so he can pursue happiness in a relationship with Daisy Buchanan. He reveals his determination for this high status by rising from the poor lower class and living in wealthy West Egg; however, his inability to achieve his American Dream illustrates the impracticality of the dream. Furthermore, Wilson’s self-owned car repairs business portrays his hard work. The love he retains for his wife Myrtle Wilson influences his dream of making her pleased with money and moving out West. Similar to Gatsby, he fails at achieving his dream despite his great efforts; thus, his failure represents the impossibility of achieving the American Dream. Moreover, Tom Buchanan has wealth and status living in East Egg. He already achieves an American Dream of status and wealth, the certain desires that Gatsby and Wilson focus on; however, he lacks contentment in his marriage, so he cannot achieve his American Dream of finding happiness in a relationship. The characters portray much dissimilarity with their characteristics, and Fitzgerald utilizes their features to relate each of them to a different aspect of the American Dream that focuses on the pursuit of happiness; however, he uses the characters’ ultimate discontent and failure to attain their dreams to convey the inability of achieving the American Dream.
Fitzgerald displays Gatsby, Wilson, and Tom with varying lifestyles to illustrate them with differences in characteristics. Gatsby’s rise from the lower class to new money in West Egg illustrates his ambition and determination for moving up in social class. Although Gatsby descended from “shiftless and unsuccessful farm people”(Fitzgerald 98), he “was extravagantly ambitious”(100) working “as a clam-digger and a salmon fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed”(98). Gatsby displays his determination working hard to break free from his lazy lower class ancestors. Moreover, Wilson’s illuminates his hard work through the creation and keeping of a car repairs business; however, he contrasting from Gatsby lives near the ash pit, which connotes the poor working class. For example, he owns a car workshop called “Repairs. George B. Wilson. Cars bought and sold”(25), and he lives in the “valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes form houses and chimneys”(23). Wilson’s self-owned car repair shop highlights his hard work for success in society, but his life in the valley of ashes juxtaposes Gatsby’s extravagant life in West Egg and illuminates his lower social classification. In contrast to Gatsby and Wilson, Tom possesses affluence and an extravagant living that he inherits from his wealthy ancestors. The narrator, Nick Carraway, identifies Tom’s great wealth as...

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