It was understood that the American Dream was that of a theory of achieving a goal of being a successful person was only through the act of hard work, determination, and persistence. Toward the end of the First World War, America’s mindset started to shift from the impact from the brutality of the war. When the war ended in 1918, the better part of the nation felt the devastation and alienation caused from the war. The faith in the American Dream was eroding quickly. Society discovered that honor and courage would not protect them in the war as they once thought. All that the American Dream stood for began to shake. In the war, it seemed, the power-thirst and selfish people were rewarded rather than the people who actually made an effort to do the good for all of the people. World War One was clarification to society that the American Dream did not match the twentieth century philosophy.
Gertrude Stein, a former author during the Lost Generation, made the comment to another author creating the term herself, “The Lost Generation”. Stein chose the phrase supposedly to signify the lost values and beliefs to the generation of people. The Lost Generation includes authors who had become of age just after the First World War. This generation was raised on the ideas and values of the American Dream yet were the first generation to experience society’s morals being challenged and destroyed.
Attempting to make sense of the altering world around them, the authors of the Lost Generation tried looking for new ways of thinking. Because of this reaction, it caused a turning point in American Literature. The works that developed from the aftermath reflected the cynicism and disillusionment experienced during the war. Because of these new ideas, a new age began in America which led to modernism. This new literary movement involved many authors known worldwide today. John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, E.E. Cummings, and John Dos Passos were among the many writers that created and shaped the diversity in literature considerably (InfoPlease). No one seemed to portray and capture the new outlook on the world better than F. Scott Fitzgerald with his novel The Great Gatsby.
Fitzgerald uses his characters in The Great Gatsby to display various different versions of the American Dream and how the change of the meaning of the Dream changed the lifestyle of the majority of the nation. Nearly every character in the novel is arguably perusing some form or another of the American Dream.
To Jay Gatsby, the American Dream consisted of making something of himself. Gatsby grew up as James Gatz from North Dakota. His story is the basic “rags to riches” story that makes him a perfect illustration of the American Dream. Gatsby wanted wealth and riches,...