The American Dream Essay

982 words - 4 pages

Happiness is overpriced. During the 1920s, wealth is the only concern that’s relevant or that’s worth achieving. though we seek prosperity and contentment, Americans confuse that utopian thought with what they sincerely desire. Desire is a recurring element that appears in The Great Gatsby, it’s a “need” that never ceases to be wanted. Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom confuse the obtainment of desire with wholeness . When these characters continually attain this aspiration that would make them happier, they are left with mistaken fulfilment. Through the depictions of Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom, Fitzgerald shows us that sometimes we corrupt the American Dream with a distorted vision of pure happiness.
In the novel, Tom’s overbearing masculinity is coated by his will to constantly control. In Daisy’s quote, “That’s what I get for marrying a brute of a man, a great, big, hulking physical specimen of a---” (12), she’s describing that even in his physical nature, he has the appearance of a typical, domineering man who controls their women in the 1920s. Wealth has never been a problem for Tom, he was born with money and he lived luxuriously in East Egg for as long as he could remember, and yet, still with all the additional fame and riches from his Polo career, he longed for more, even if it meant to attain it carelessly. When he married Daisy (a very graceful woman from Louisville, who was desired by many soldiers), she had a voice that dripped with opulence and gold in every octave she spoke. As Nick quotes, “It was full of money-that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it…” (120). Though Daisy seemed like the quintessential woman any man would be lucky to have, she wasn’t enough. Tom wanted more to claim his own, and more to control. He let lust devour him, and he was driven by his own gluttony to cheat on Daisy with Myrtle. That didn’t make him happy, and the fulfilment he so craved was simply an impure desire he didn't truly need.
Daisy is also no saint in The Great Gatsby. While Tom is a controlling misogynist, Daisy is a very selfish woman. Daisy’s main ambition in life is to stay rich and have materialistic things at her disposal, even if it’s in the form of love. Love is such a vague emotion for Daisy, as she confuses love with riches and riches with happiness. The night of her wedding was the only revelation she had that her contentment with Tom could be wrong. Jordan, who was a bridesmaid in Daisy’s wedding, narrates the scene with, “She began to cry--she cried and cried. I rushed out and found her mother’s maid, and we locked the door and got her into a cold bath” (76). Until that moment, Daisy realized what her true happiness should have been, she seemed to...

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