The Ending of the American Dream
Since the early colonization of America, the American dream has been the ultimate symbol for success. In retrospect, the dreamer desires to become wealthy, while also attaining love and high class. Though the dream has had different meanings in time, it is still based on individual freedom, and a desire for greatness. During the 19th century, the typical goal was to settle in the West and raise a family. However, the dream progressively transformed into greediness and materialism during the early 20th century. The indication of success soon became focused on wealth and luxury. The Great Gatsby is a story focused on the deterioration of the American dream. Throughout the novel, Jay Gatsby is shown with a desire to achieve his dream by all means. Utilizing the Roaring Twenties as part of his satire, Fitzgerald criticizes the values of the American dream, and the effects of materialism on one’s dream.
Gatsby can be characterized as being ignorant. He assumes that wealth and possession equates to happiness and harmony. Gatsby’s American dream can be seen as being corrupted by his surroundings of wealth. Although as wealthy as his surroundings, his money does not necessarily mean he matches well with the East Eggers he is associated with. He spends enormous amounts of money, yet no one really likes him. He entertains large groups of people in hope of attaining something greater.
Gatsby’s failure to achieve his dream may be blamed on his romantic views of life. Every one of his actions was directed towards his dream. His view of the perfect lifestyle is encouraged by a beautiful and wealthy woman. Daisy Buchanan, whom Gatsby knew during World War I, is seen as the golden girl. She is who Gatsby desires because her voice is full of money. “Full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song in it” (Fitzgerald 127). It is clear that Gatsby may not be the only one who is caught so enamored with Daisy. Gatsby does everything he can in hope of winning her over. However, the only thing that Daisy’s voice promises is money and greed. Gatsby is too late in realizing that there is no sympathy in Daisy; there is just wealth and status.
Gatsby’s impractical view of life is so great that he tells Daisy to break up with Tom. He undertakes that his dream will be complete if she says she never loved Tom. To Gatsby, Daisy is an object of the past. His obsession with her does not allow him to distinguish between times. Gatsby perceives Daisy being the same women he met long ago. Gatsby’s failures stems from the gap in his judgment that Daisy only represents beauty and love. Although she seems to be light and full of kindness, she is actually selfish and greedy. She is irresponsible and inconsiderate with others; she lets Myrtle’s death become Gatsby responsibility, and she shows no concern when her action leads to Gatsby’s death. In fact, Daisy’s character is immediately...