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The Impossible American Dream In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

1538 words - 6 pages

A dream is a deep ambition and desire for something; everybody tries to reach their dreams no matter how far away they may seem. The characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s stories strive for nothing less than “The Great American Dream”. This is the need to be the best of the best, top of the social ladder, and to be happier and more successful than anyone has been before. Fitzgerald writes about this American Dream that every character has but can never achieve; the dream is kept unattainable due to obstacles, the disadvantages of being low on the social ladder, and also the restrictions of having a high social status.
The American Dream is not something easily achieved, and according to Fitzgerald it is literally unattainable. There is always some obstacle or barrier in the way of success. Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby is not a very satisfied man; he seems to have a sense of ennui when it comes to his marriage and his life. So he lives the life he really wants part time with his mistress, Myrtle Wilson. However, this semi-fulfillment of his dreams is stopped, and what stops it is the fact that Myrtle is married, and her husband, George, has “discovered that Myrtle [has] some sort of life apart from him in another world” (The Great Gatsby 130). Tom is reaching for his own idea of success with Myrtle, but he cannot reach it due to her being married. What keeps one from attaining their dreams is not necessarily something as physical as a marriage; it can be someone’s attitude, like that of Judy Jones in Fitzgerald’s “Winter Dreams”. The young protagonist in this story, Dexter Green, is in love with the flighty flirt Judy Jones. His dream is to be with her; unfortunately, “She [is] entertained only by the gratification of her own desires and by [the] direct exercise of her own charm” (“Winter Dreams” 246). Dexter’s goal is to have Judy and that is all; however she has her own agenda, which involves doing what she wants, and so the love he thought she had for him proved to be false when she moved on. This is agonizing to Dexter; he has his dream fulfilled and in his hands, but a quick change of heart from Ms. Jones takes it from him. After many years, no matter how he changes, Dexter’s dreams remain the same; deep down he wants the pretty, sweet Judy Jones. When he returns to where she lives, a man tells him that she has changed and begun to “fade”, her stunning beauty becoming no more. Thinking he was over his need for Judy, hearing about her misfortune makes him realize “[His] dream [is] gone. Something [was being] taken from him…[what he had dreamed] of no longer exists in the world” (“Winter Dreams” 254). The change in Judy makes his goals no longer something he has to fight for, making his possibility of success and happiness that much more unattainable. Fitzgerald argues that the American Dream is always kept away by something, even something completely out of one’s control.
It is harder to reach one’s dreams without riches, or an...

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