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The American Dream In The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald And A Streetcar Named Desire By Tennessee Williams

1206 words - 5 pages

The American Dream is an ethos idealized by millions of people. It is an attitude and mindset that can promote success and prosperity throughout life. When it comes to the American dream, a significant part is the quest for money. As shown in classic American Literature such as The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, the influence of money plays an important role throughout both novels. There are characters in both books that use money as a way of representing what their morals and values are. The decline of the American Dream is evident in both novels considering the negative effects money has on certain characters.
The American Dream still lives today in society in which people strive to the top and accomplish their goals in life. James Truslow Adams coined the term in 1931 in his book called “American Dream”. He stated in the book "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement". The importance of this quote in Adams’ novel is that the American Dream can be achieved by anyone (Warshauer 3). There are no limits and bounds to these emotions and people from any social class can seek their dreams and desires in life. Over the years the definition of the American Dream has changed, but the underlying fundamental meaning had stayed the same. The American mentality is basically participation in the economy and society in order to gain a better social standard and be prosperous. The United States Declaration of Independence also had some influence in the definition of the American Dream. In the Declaration of Independence it states all men are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"(Warshauer 6). This shows that the American Dream emanated as early as the 18th century.
In The Great Gatsby, the American Dream is depicted in an adverse and undesired manner. When Nick Carraway moves to the West Egg district of Long Island he realizes the American Dream has been corrupted (Fitzgerald 10). Fitzgerald describes the 1920s as an era that is fraudulent and corrupt. We see that Gatsby is not someone that truly followed the American Dream to gain prosperity and wealth. Gatsby’s wealth was derived from bootlegging alcohol and other illegal products and this symbolized the 1920s as an era of newfound materialism and unprecedented success (Millett 1). Gatsby’s desire for wealth and power was influenced greatly by his old friend Dan Cody. While working and traveling with Cody on his yacht, Gatsby falls in love with luxury and wealth. Cody leaves Gatsby twenty-five thousand dollars when he dies, but could not claim it because of Cody’s mistress (Fitzgerald 107). After this event Gatsby was determined and focused in becoming a wealthy man down the road. Dan Cody made Gatsby the person he shaped and evolved into. Jay Gatsby utilizes his power and wealth in attempt to...

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