"The Great Gatsby", Paper Titled, "Can The American Dream Be Defined?" Compares The Media Portrayal Of The Dream To The Lives The Characters Lived. Quotes Included.

1589 words - 6 pages

Can the American Dream be Defined?In the novel, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, we are introduced to characters who are chasing the American Dream. We see that while these people are busy trying to achieve their goals, they lose sight of what is really important in life, such as family and being happy. People spend their whole life chasing the American Dream, when most do not really know what is the dream.If the American Dream is what the media tells us it is, then shouldn't the characters in this novel be living that dream? The media portrays the American Dream as having a family with 2.5 kids, a dog named Spot, a nice home in Suburbia, and a white picket fence surrounding it all. This dream tells us that all one needs to achieve it is money to buy it and the opportunities to receive it.The concept of an American Dream is a simple one, but it is extremely difficult to define. If it is truly all about the money, then why are there so many unhappy people in the novel? However, one cannot take money out of the picture because someone living on the streets certainly cannot be living the American Dream. So how then can one define this dream? It is possible that it cannot be defined. If the term the American Dream where to be taken into a literal sense, then one could see it as an American's Dream. In this case, the dream would be based on an individual basis, and it will vary from person to person.The Great Gatsby was written in 1925 and it takes place in the years right before the Great Depression. Fitzgerald shows the reader the hollowness in that time period and he doubts the very core of American national identity, the American Dream. Jay Gatsby is a typical aristocratic man. He spends his whole life acquiring money, and the things money can buy. Yet, in the end, he still feels as if he is missing something in his life.All of the characters in this novel are chasing the American Dream; some have an easier time than others do. Tom, Daisy, and even Nick are born into wealth, unlike Gatsby who swindles his way to the top of societies' food chain. The two towns, East Egg and West Egg, separate the two types of society. East Egg is a place of glittering "...white palaces..."(6), while West Egg is "...the less fashionable of the two... "(5). The descriptions of these two places show that something as simple as a river can separate two entirely different places.Daisy and Tom are in actuality very unhappy people, even though they put on the persona of having a nice family life. Daisy is a woman who has pretty much settled in life, she voices her discontent in this quote; " I've had a very bad time... I'm pretty cynical about everything"(13). She has a husband, a daughter, a nice home, and plenty of money, yet she is far from being happy. Tom is also an unhappy fellow. In his younger years, Tom became a sports star and ever since then he was been trying to regain the feeling of fulfillment which that gave him. His wife even describes him as " one...

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