The Emptiness Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

1467 words - 6 pages

Jay Gatsby’s sole purpose in life is to achieve the American Dream: to become a land owner, married to the love of his life, who live in comfort and abundance. However, he never gets everything he wants as his love for Daisy is not as fully reciprocated as he wishes it to be. His dream, and the one Nick pursues as well, are only dreams in the end. The culture of the time only gives empty fulfillment with no real substance. The people, like their dreams, are only illusions of what they want to be.
Gatsby’s life after the war is his search for his American Dream, which, in his eyes, culminates in Daisy. Nick observes that Gatsby “found that he had committed himself to the following of a grail” (149). Fitzgerald chooses to compare Gatsby’s quest for Daisy to that of a quest for the Holy Grail as they are equally futile. The Holy Grail and the American Dream both do not exist and so Gatsby is chasing an imagined idea. Thus, his quest is for something not grounded in reality. Gatsby’s relationship with Daisy is based on false pretenses as he “had deliberately given daisy a sense of security; he let her believe that he was a person from much the same stratum as herself—that he was fully able to take care of her” (149). At the foundation their “love” is based on falsehoods, and so their love is, perhaps, doomed from the beginning since it has begun in a dream state as well. Gatsby’s father, Mr. Gatz, believed in the American Dream and is as naïve as his son. He says, “Jimmy was bound to get ahead” (173), as if it was Gatsby’s right do so as a pragmatic person. His pragmatism does get him his job with Wolfsheim, an example of an incredibly pragmatic man, and thus gets him his wealth. However, the time he lost in attaining his riches was worth more than all the money he earned. By being pragmatic and waiting to become rich before finding Daisy again, he loses Daisy to Tom. They both think the ideal is something that Gatsby can grasp even though it is a dream and nothing more. Gatsby’s death is the realization that nothing can ever be the ideal. He was so close to getting what he wanted, but he never gets the full package.
The world that Nick recounts is full of idealizations. When Nick first encounters Jordan and Daisy, “They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house” (8). The women here sound like something out of a fairy tale. They come off as fantastical but are not as good of people as they may seem. Their false presentation brings up the lies behind everyone’s presentation. Gatsby, as well, is not what he presents himself as. He is said to be an “Oxford man” but only visited Oxford with Dan Cody. The façades are a part of society’s attempt to be something it is not and to present itself as something better than it is. The truth is that they are all, in their own ways, like Tom and Daisy

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up...

Find Another Essay On The Emptiness of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

The Fall of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

1794 words - 7 pages The Roaring 20's was an era of decadence and endless possibility. The American Dream was something that everyone coveted. Essentially, The American Dream meant that anyone who had the talent and worked hard enough, could achieve it. Money, a loving spouse, and status all showed that a person had been successful in their life and were vital points to the American Dreams of the Characters in the Great Gatsby. Many of them strived in their own

Corruption of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

1576 words - 6 pages April 7, 2014Corruption of the American Dream in The Great GatsbyENG 3UMatthew MayMrs. K. BentleyEssay OutlineThesis: In The Great Gatsby , the American Dream has been corrupted by the desire for wealth.Introduction• The Great Gatsby shows that the American Dream has been corrupted by the desire for wealth.First Paragraph• The Buchanans are both corrupted by money, even though they have "fulfilled" their dream.• Their money cannot

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

Fitzgerald's Exploration of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

722 words - 3 pages Fitzgerald's Exploration of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, is a one of the best stories written during a chaotic period in our nation’s history, The Jazz Age. The Twenties were a time of social experiments, self-indulgence, and dissatisfaction for majority of Americans. Fitzgerald depicts all these characteristics throughout the novel with his interesting themes, settings, and characters

Death of the American Dream in Fitgerald's The Great Gatsby

1556 words - 6 pages The American Dream is dead. This is the main theme in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby. In the novel Fitzgerald gives us a glimpse into the life of the high class during the roaring twenties through the eyes of a moralistic young man named Nick Carraway. It is through the narrator's dealings with high society that readers are shown how modern values have transformed the American Dream's pure ideals into a scheme for

Unethical Pursuit of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

957 words - 4 pages disillusionment, and, in some ways, this individual analysis allows one to gain personal perspective on one’s life. In Human All-Too-Human, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies”, and, within the backdrop of the 1920’s, Fitzgerald makes abundantly clear in the text that the American dream is a conviction that so happens to be based on lies and corruption. Throughout The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald portrays

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

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 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 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

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 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

The Death Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

2232 words - 9 pages the United States of America in search of fulfilling the American dream they had heard of in their homeland. As America progressed the dream began to decay and lose it's possibly of becoming true for those who wanted it. The novel The Great Gatsby portrays the eventual death of the American dream. The Great Gatsby consistently presented the symbolic death of the American dream.Jay Gatsby symbolized the American dream. His entire life revolved