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The American Dream: F. Scott Fitzgerald "The Great Gatsby"

1679 words - 7 pages

The original American Dream, created in the founding years of America, emphasized the budding opportunities of the American nation. The American Dream is a vision with a simple concept, to obtain: power, money, happiness, or love. Those who are lacking all or a few of these things may work hard and reap the rewards of their success. And those who are wealthy have no need to rely on this dream for happiness. The thought of this ideal was what made the American people believe that they could be great. "The Dutch sailor's eyes" (Fitzgerald 171) that first set sight on the land came with the hopes that they too could, by means of hard and honest work, obtain a superior state of living, be it physical or emotional. The idea of the American dream enticed in every man an expectation of success as a reward for his effort and at one time, these fantasies may have been true. Greed, illegal activities and immoral values are factors that have contributed to the corruption of the American Dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby clearly shows how the American Dream has become corrupt and how it has become less about the hard work, and more about the results that are obtained through any means possible.In the novel The Great Gatsby, the corruption of the American Dream is shown in part by the greed of the characters. Greed is defined in the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary as "the excessive and selfish desire for wealth, power etc." This gluttony is clearly displayed by Fitzgerald through the actions of most of the characters in the novel. Daisy Buchanan displays her greed many times throughout the story. We learn of her greed when we first become aware of the fact that "Tom's got some woman in New York" (Fitzgerald 20) and Daisy continues to ignore it. She avoids the fact that her husband is engaged in an extra-marital affair, why? Daisy does this because of her greed. Her American dream was to gain an abundance of wealth, despite coming from a rich family. She married Tom out of greed for his assets and her logical reason for staying with him, despite his unfaithfulness, is justified by her excessive and selfish desire for the riches he owns. She is too immersed in her lavish lifestyle to even think of letting him go. Greed is also shown as a factor that contributes to the corruption of the American Dream through Myrtle Wilson. Myrtle, Tom's mistress, is in search of a more pampered lifestyle. She claims that her husband, who "borrowed somebody's best suit to get married in" (Fitzgerald 37) "wasn't fit to lick her shoe." (Fitzgerald 37). She believed that she had made a mistake in marrying her husband and that she deserved much better. Thus, her American Dream was to gain entrance into a higher class of society. Her greed led her to develop a selfish desire for wealth and to gain the end result of her dream, she cheated on her husband. In both cases, greed for wealth prevents the characters from reaching their dream in the honest way which is,...

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