"The American Dream often becomes a disappointing reality in the
Literature of this period.” In light of this view, compare The Great Gatsby with The Grapes of Wrath.
American dream is a big theme running through American literature. Discovered in 1492- later then Europe and the east; America held a reputation for undiscovered, unknown potential and hope for anyone to benefit from. As well as the dream that with enough hard work anything can be achieved. In both novels- The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath you can see how all characters are attempting to complete their dream and how inevitably they nearly all lead to disappointment.
In Fitzgerald’s Gatsby, Jay Gatsby himself has the most ambition for his dream. Nick Carraway describes it as an “extraordinary gift for hope” that was “never found in any other person”. He made it his goal to win back the love of his life Daisy Buchanan. He earns his fortune in a criminal and mysterious way, which already undermines the innocence of the American dream, as it was not honest work. This sets his dream up for disappointment early and makes in unachievable from the start. The disappointment comes when he and Daisy reconnect and we find out that her alluring “low, thrilling voice” that Gatsby is attracted to the most is “full of money” demonstrating that the pure dream that Gatsby first though of has been corrupted by materialism and greed. “The jingle of it, the cymbal song of it” all have connotations of imagery of coins and money showing that the craving of opulence has clouded Gatsby’s love for her. Then it was clear that “the colossal significance” of his dream had “vanished forever” and ended in disappointment for everyone. Critic Kathleen Parkinson states “he is blind to both the corruption he seeks to realize in his dream and the impossibility of daisy’s ever measuring up to this vision of her”. He was so obsessed with the dream he had in his head nothing could have ever lived up to his expectations of what it should be so was bound for disappointment from the start. Money plays a big part in the disappointment of the American Dream as it is what people fixate on and takes away the integrity of the dream. This is indicated in Grapes of wrath when the farm owners in California cut the wages of the workers because they knew they were desperate enough to take the deal.
Set in the roaring 20s, the people living in The Great Gatsby are at the peak of the American dream nation wide. After the war everyone was affluent and money was everywhere. Such as the newly developed stock businesses- especially in New York where the financial boom made “the parties the bigger” and “morals looser”. Moving forward to the 1930s where The Grapes...