This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Art Of Sacrifice As Portrayed In The "Great Gatsby" By F.S. Fitzgerald And "American Beauty" Directed By Sam Mendes.

1800 words - 7 pages

Sacrifice, the concept of giving up something valuable as a means of gaining more desirable things or preventing evil, is a fascinating art that has long intrigued humankind. In particular, two American texts have captured the essence of it , The Great Gatsby by F.S. Fitzgerald and the 1999 movie American Beauty directed by Sam Mendes. Both texts closely explore the responsibility of an individual’s relationship with his or her society for the sacrifices the individual makes; from the disillusionment of the American Dream to how the characters are affected or destroyed by it.In the world of Jay Gatsby and Lester Burnham, ideals and values are defined by their society. More specifically, theirs is a consumer-driven society, resulting in false values which place importance on materialism and hedonism, disregarding morality and spirituality. In The Great Gatsby, these values are embodied through the juxtaposition and repetition of West and East. The Mid-West of America and West Egg, where Nick and Gatsby originate and inhabit, represent moral integrity, spirituality and innocence in contrast to the East Coast of America and East Egg, where the Buchanans live, which are full of self-indulgence, material wealth and moral decadence. The function of the characters is to enhance these values depending on where they come from, Mid-Western Nick for an example is a self-described moral person (“I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known”) but Tom Buchanan from the East is portrayed as a ruthless, racist womanizer who is “careless” in using and letting “other people clean up the mess [he] had made.” Similarly, the opening scene in American Beauty is of a high-angle pan across a picturesque suburb and then a cut to an equally picturesque large house with a neat lawn and beautiful rose beds. This quickly highlights the concept of a social ideal to strive for, as Lester Burnham’s house is portrayed as the epitome of American homes with its perfect white walls and bright red door, and it is promptly linked to consumerism through the means of his wife Carolyn, who is a competitive real estate agent – she sells this American Dream, leading to the social notion that if you have money, then you can have anything. All these techniques are used to emphasize the major role of society in defining social values and aspirations.Therefore the individual, in an attempt to gain happiness and fulfillment, will strive for the values that society imposes. They adopt the social ideals and then make sacrifices in order to achieve them. Since the first glimpse of Carolyn cultivating a perfect red rose in American Beauty, it has become the symbol for her. Like the outwardly perfect rose, she is seen as the modern-age successful businesswoman who has it all – the perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect job, all reflecting her philosophy of “in order to be successful, one must maintain an image of success at...

Find Another Essay On The Art of Sacrifice as portrayed in the "Great Gatsby" by F.S. Fitzgerald and "American Beauty" directed by Sam Mendes.

A comparison between Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" and Mendes' "American Beauty"

1193 words - 5 pages you've dreamed of. For most people, this was a two storey house on a 500 m² piece of land, a loving partner, and 2.3 children. However, Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby" and Mendes' film "American Beauty" shatter this illusion of perfection and show the reality of the Great American Dream, a hollow, materialistic lifestyle in which one is judged and judges on the basis of the things that they own. Each text depicts the Great American Dream

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

1652 words - 7 pages The American Dream in The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald The American Dream is the fantasy of complete independence and self-reliance mixed with the opportunity to attain wealth through one's labours. On the surface, this dream seems almost enchanted, offering people the unique prospect of achieving success regardless of one's race, religion or family history. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald is an immortal

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

827 words - 4 pages The American Dream is a way of life and ideal that all people have strived for in their lives. Its meaning and hope is in finding well-found success, wealth and power through independence and self-determination. The purchasing of a home, possessing material items, and living a life of leisure has all evolved into the realities of the American dream. In the Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald’s portrayal of the American dream is shown as a system that is

F.S. Fitzgeral "The Great Gatsby"

7211 words - 29 pages as he liked. And he actually felt that what he had done to Gatsby was entirely justified. People like Tom never get hurt or upset, they can only get scared because what they are is unfeeling and cowardly. Cold and inhuman.Corruption of the DreamThe book 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald was an 'icon of itstime.' The book discusses topics that were important, controversial andinteresting back in 1920's America. The novel is an exploration

The Great Gatsby, by Fitzgerald

1005 words - 4 pages Great Gatsby Fitzgerald suggests many things about illusion and reality. I thinkthat the strongest thing Fitzgerald suggests is that you create your own illusion, and withthis illusion, you shape the person that you are. All of the rich people in this book havesome sort of illusion surrounding their persona, but Gatsby has the greatest of all illusionssurrounding him.Gatsby is presented as living the charmed life, with plenty of friends, no problems

The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

975 words - 4 pages The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald Throughout the novel, Gatsby's dialogue and actions contribute to the overall impression of greatness in Gatsby. Most of these attributes are made visible to the reader by Gatsby's obsession to being reunited with Daisy, his long lost love. Gatsby's actions towards Nick also give the impression to the reader of the greatness in

"The great Gatsby" by Fitzgerald

567 words - 2 pages heart she never loved anyone except me!" (Fitzgerald 131). Gatsby does not want to let go his past by telling Tom that Daisy has always loved him. Gatsby's love for Daisy has dominated his knowledge and vision, which causes him could not recognized the untruthfulness of Daisy's word. Although Daisy does tell Gatsby that she loves him before, that does not mean she loves him now.Gatsby's love for Daisy makes him willing to sacrifice his life for her

The American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

1239 words - 5 pages ; the American Dream should not be a materialistic goal, but a goal in pursuit of true, spiritual happiness. This is shown in both Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Both authors feel very strongly about the issue, as do many other authors writing today, who fear American Economic views could doom the human race to a meaningless existence. With an ending not too dissimilar from Brave New World.

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

730 words - 3 pages Jay Gatsby, the central character of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby symbolizes the American dream. The American dream offers faith in the possibility of a better life. Its intention is the belief that material wealth alone can bring that dream to reality. Through Gatsby, Fitzgerald brings together both these ideas. Jay Gatsby thinks money is the answer to anything he encounters. He has the best of everything. The fanciest car, the

A discussion of the american dream as represented in "American Beauty" and "The Great Gatsby"

1491 words - 6 pages The American Dream in American BeautyThe concept of a blanket American Dream to suit all people is exposed as wrong in Mendes's American Beauty. By building a conformist community where the perception as opposed to actual happiness is chased, is a key theme in the film. The director uses characterisation to explore the effect the American Dream has had on the three central characters. Mendes challenges the credibility of such a blanket dream

"The Great Gatsby" By F. Scott Fitzgerald. Discusses The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

1121 words - 5 pages Great Gatsby American DreamThe American Dream Since July 4, 1776 Americans have had the opportunity to pursue whatever they can think of. This has given the people the opportunity to become whatever they want. A person who works hard can become successful; this is what the American Dream is centered around. A person who is a hard worker and persistent can reach any goal he strives for. The American Dream changed as America did. People became

Similar Essays

American Beauty, Directed By Sam Mendes

1372 words - 5 pages of Mendes’ comments are critical, showing conventional aspects of life as drab, dark, and unexciting through plain sets and dull lighting. Being adventurous or rebellious is portrayed positively through upbeat music, bright lighting and vibrant colors. The stylization and character development in “American Beauty” makes many poignant statements about Middle America’s sexual archetypes.

Comparative Study Of Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" And Sam Mendes' "American Beauty" In Relation To The American Dream

1331 words - 5 pages concerning the dream. Undoubtedly as time progresses one's interpretation of society, and the progression of society itself will change, however the defilation of the Dream seems to be one constant factor that has evidently had a profound effect on authors. This essay highlights the shift in context and values and attitudes presented in two well-known texts, the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925) and Sam Mendes' film American Beauty

The American Dream As Portrayed In "Great Gatsby", By F. Scott Fitzgerald

565 words - 2 pages The American dream is interwoven and deeply embedded in every fabric of American life. It has also been the focal point of many novels in American literature. This dream, as seen in "The Great Gatsby", is associated with rugged individualism, generous enthusiasm and idealism in the pursuit of success. Dating back to our puritan heritage, the idea that hard work, following the rules, and "being good" has attracted many immigrants to our shores

"Great" As Displayed By Fitzgerald In The Great Gatsby

999 words - 4 pages Title: Such Great Heights—Aspirations and Determination Help Get Us There====================While the word “great” is defined to be large in size, quantity, number, or importance, F. Scott Fitzgerald defines how Gatsby was “great” in terms of American culture, his experience, and the culture of the 1920s. The A & E Biography called F. Scott Fitzgerald the "Great American Dreamer" of the jazz age. Why the Great