The American Dream In The Great Gatsby And "Winters Dream"

2112 words - 8 pages

Mitch TerrellMrs. KangasHonors English, Hour 33-24-14The American Dream or an OnionThe American Dream is an endless onion. One will find endless layers of the American dream onion to peel back in order to grasp for an unattainable center. Only tears will be achieved from this endless peeling of the onion's layers. F. Scott Fitzgerald believed this metaphor to be true and that is evident in his Novel The Great Gatsby and his short story "Winter Dreams." The illusion and the empty promises of the American dream is exploited by Fitzgerald in his Novel and short story by his exemplary use of symbols, his ability to depict greed and corruption within his characters, and his depiction of the balance of hope.Fitzgerald has an incredible ability to use symbols within his writings to serve as a deeper meaning. In The Great Gatsby the green light and valley of ashes both represent the illusion of the American dream in a different way. After Nick Caraway had visited his wealthy cousin Daisy and her husband Tom Buchanan, he returned to his West Egg house and noticed his neighbor, Gatsby, reaching for something. Nick "glanced seaward - and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been at the end of a dock," (Fitzgerald GG 21). Gatsby is reaching out for this green light because he believes it brings him closer to Daisy. Gatsby thinks that if he could just have Daisy, his quest for the American dream would be complete. Fitzgerald uses symbolism to show the unattainability of the American dream with this "minute" "green light" far in the distance by portraying the American dream as always one step ahead and how there is always one more thing to add to the dream. Later in the novel Tom insists that Nick come with him to the Yale club, but they end up departing from the train at an unknown city to Nick. This unknown city was called "the valley of ashes - [which was] as fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat in ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys," (GG 23). Again Fitzgerald uses the literary device, symbolism, to have the valley of ashes represent or symbolize the unavoidable corruption that comes with the rich's indulgences on material wealth and empty pursuit of the American dream. A common theme throughout The Great Gatsby was that the American dream is an illusion; the valley of ashes fortify this ideal by showing that no matter the wealth or status they still leave behind "ashes" or scum to be raked up by those below them. With the green light representing the unattainability of the American dream and the valley of ashes symbolizing the corruption of it, Fitzgerald makes the overall illusion of the American dream evident.Just as in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, there were two prominent symbols in his "Winter Dreams": Judy's Boat and Golf Balls. Towards the middle of the short story everything seems to be going right for Dexter. Everything was going...

Find Another Essay On The American Dream in The Great Gatsby and "Winters Dream"

The Great Gatsby and The American Dream

1444 words - 6 pages place. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald illustrates the American Dream and its corruption through the evolution of a society from the wealth and social statuses they achieved. One way that Fitzgerald illustrates the American Dream and its corruption is through the decay of moral and social values. Once the American Dream has transformed to a more materialistic view, the loss of moral and social values began to happen. Society was becoming

The Great Gatsby and the American Dream

1044 words - 5 pages the gradual corruption of hard work and perseverance in the American Dream by utilizing the motif of driving and incorporating it with the the ideas of greed and carelessness. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald affiliates driving with greed and carelessness by revealing Jordan Baker's selfish motive while driving and Daisy's recklessness when driving. He uses the specific incident of when Daisy kills Myrtle to portray carelessness. After a

"The Great Gatsby" and the American Dream

676 words - 3 pages A chance to better oneself; the American Dream allowed anyone, rich or poor to succeed in life. During the twenties, many poor attempted to better themselves by getting a secure job, starting a family and owning a home and a car with the aim of joining the upper class citizens of America. Many works of literature depict this idea of "poverty to riches" by way of the American Dream. In the novel, "The Great Gatsby", Jay Gatsby, formerly James

"The Great Gatsby" and The American Dream

1487 words - 6 pages Discovery, Individualism, and the pursuit of happiness, this is the American Dream. Or at least what it used to be. People live their whole lives trying to accomplish this dream, but few actually do, why? How are the odds not in the favor of a million and more citizens? It's because the American Dream no longer exists. Laziness, easy money, and light-hearted values have corrupted the American Dream. "The Great Gatsby" at first seems like a story

The Great Gatsby and The American Dream

508 words - 3 pages The long sought, after "American Dream" may have only been a dream for Gatsby. He simply wanted too much of what really isn't there. A minor changing of the past is what really led to the demise of his dream. Daisy was under much stress, and her ability to think clearly was clouded. Instead of letting things work out with Daisy and Tom, Gatsby decided to intervene, ultimately crushing his hopes of ever being with Daisy.Due to Americans being

Great Gatsby: The American Dream

740 words - 3 pages The Great Gatsby: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties The Great Gatsby is a tale told by Nick Carraway, about the Roaring Twenties. In this story it shows how dreams can conquer and corrupt people’s common sense and good judgment. Throughout this book the main theme is the “American Dream”, and how the goals of society sometimes affected what the character did to accomplish their American Dream. In this story the chasing of the American Dream led

American Dream in history and The Great Gatsby

587 words - 2 pages " writers who portrayed the American Dream in his novel, "The Great Gatsby." This novel reflects Fitzgerald's life experiences since he had once been heartbroken by a rich girl, like the character Jay Gatsby. World War I had just ended and this gave a better reason for the Americans to look up to something great in the future. The 1920s was also a period when values had been corrupted by the pursuit of wealth. For example, Jay Gatsby had to become

The Great Gatsby and American Beauty, The American Dream

1001 words - 4 pages Anyone can succeed through hard work and persistence. That was the original American Dream, and that notion has somewhat been at the heart of American culture through history. However, composers F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of 'The Great Gatsby' (1926), and Sam Mendes, director of the movie 'American Beauty' (1999), explain in their texts that the pursuit of the American Dream is futile. In addition, Fitzgerald shows that subscribing to it leads

The Great Gatsby : The American Dream

791 words - 3 pages Dream, or ‘the Daisy?’ The Dream, of course. The ‘Daisy’ he sees is a complete figment of his imagination, a part of his own personal American Dream, one that he’s striving to have a little piece of.      In the beginning of chapter one, we are shown a Gatsby in the middle of one of his weakest moments, when his guard is completely let down and his game face is off. He is looking out across the sea, and had “stretched his

The Great Gatsby: The American Dream

694 words - 3 pages The Great Gatsby: The American Dream The Great Gatsby, written by Scott Fitzgerald is a novel that has many themes, however the most salient one relates to the corruption of the American Dream. The American Dream is that each person no matter who he or she is can become successful in life by his or her own hard work. The dream also shows the idea of a self-sufficient man, an entrepreneur making it successful for himself. I feel The Great Gatsby

Buying the american dream: "The Great Gatsby"

1832 words - 7 pages believes he can buy happiness, he can buy Daisy, and he can achieve a level of admiration in succulent East Egg. Gatsby is an excellent personification of someone trying to buy happiness. Buying the American Dream is something that almost everyone does, yet it never works, it is never enough. LBJ believed in personal happiness. He believed that only oneself, no outside influence such as money, could make oneself happy. Therefore, " . . . Our

Similar Essays

The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

1904 words - 8 pages does not return to the traditional values on which it was built, it may suffer a fate similar to that of Gatsby.Since its inception, America and the American Dream have been synonymous with "prosperity ... as a reward for hard work and self-reliance" (Andron). In the 1920s however, this vision loses its meaning. "The Great Gatsby sketches the evolution from a ... continent with a spirit ... to a place of nightmare, exhaustion and death" (Leone 124

The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

2295 words - 10 pages retelling of a generations old story, that themes in history continue to have a strange way of repeating themselves. The rise and fall of the stock market in the twenties as depicted in The Great Gatsby and as a stapled point in American history exemplifies Jay Gatsby’s gain of wealth which propels him into a spiraling world of newly found success and shrouds his character into more mystery. The stock market of the twenties represented then as a

The Great Gatsby And The “American Dream”

1009 words - 5 pages the “American Dream”. The "American dream" can be explained simply as a better life obtained through hard work and determination. It is supposed to result in happiness for whoever achieves the dream. However, this “American Dream” can have different meanings to everyone. This includes two of the main characters of The Great Gatsby: Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. Each character had a distinct interpretation of the “American Dream”. The title

The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

1497 words - 6 pages has not changed. The American dream made up of freedom, equality, and opportunity has greatly impacted literature and history and how the world works. Literature teaches us that over time these three things have changed and has made the world a different place. As the American dream changes, so will everything else. American literature teaches people of today's times how the American dream has evolved and how it has affected the world around it. Works Cited American Literature Text book, The Great Gatsby