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"The Great Gatsby" By F. Scott Fitzgerald.

1413 words - 6 pages

The Great Gatsby , by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a devastating analysis of the foul dust that floats in the wake of the American Dream. The ruthless pursuit of this ideal from the lowliest worker to the highest aristocrat leaves a pungent trail of ruin and corruption. The progression of the novel witnesses this path manifested in the destruction of reputation, adverse effects on the individual, social division and also the loss of moral rectitude.Destruction of reputation is an after effect of the quest for the American Dream, constantly and consistently situations are brought to the attention of the reader where the standing and reputation of characters is traduced. Gatsby's relentless and singular goal of the dream has left him the regular topic of conversation among the inhabitants of Long Island. Prior to Nick even meeting Gatsby he is told "truths" that are absurd at best: "Well, they say he's a nephew or cousin of Kaiser Wilhelm's. That's where all his money comes from." Despite the ridiculousness of this claim we see time and time again other rumours like it. For those who pursue the American Dream the loss of reputation is a given, from the tales surrounding Gatsby, to the whispers about Jordon Baker's sportsmanship. The nature of the American Dream is such that character assignation is part and parcel of any involvement in the wake of the ideal.The effect on the individual of the American Dream is both profound and terrifying, characters in the novel who chase the dream have a lost sense of completion and can be said to be hollow and illusory. A prime example of this is Daisy Buchanan; having seemingly achieved the American Dream living freely and richly with few cares in the world. However, as the novel progresses we see that she is decidedly unhappy and the achievement of the American Dream has left her empty and unfulfilled. Daisy despite being attractive and wealthy is without substance and character, her trivial and pointless conversation topics:"I'll tell you a family secret," she whispered enthusiastically. "It's about the butler's nose. Do you want to hear about the butler's nose?"The description of her voice also adds to the false, illusory image of her, created by Fitzgerald:"That was it. I'd never understood before. It was full of money--that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals' song of it. . . . high in a white palace the king's daughter, the golden girl. . ."And finally her ultimate betrayal of Gatsby, her true love, for the empty "comfortable" life with Tom. Another image of the effect on the individual of the American Dream is George Wilson, the auto-mechanic. In the novel Wilson is presented as a hollow shell of a man, his attempts to achieve financial freedom have turned him into a pale shadow of a human being:"He was a blond, spiritless man, anaemic, and faintly handsome. When he saw us a damp gleam of hope sprang into his light blue eyes."His life is a joyless chase for his...

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