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The Unattainable American Dream In F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"

1392 words - 6 pages

A truly great work of literature would allow a reader to compare and/or contrast any of the book's characters--static or rounded--without much trouble. This is the case in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The book's title character, Gatsby, is easily compared to Tom Buchanan. Their fruitless pursuance of the American Dream is what makes them most similar. The American Dream consists of having a large, elegant house, a family, a well paying job, and basically having the ability to have everything one desires when it's wanted. In the case of Tom, although the American Dream has already been attained, he is still looking for more beyond what he has now. In Gatsby's case, he more or less dreams of having the dream and looks for what he needs to attain it. This shows the fact that after seeking and finding the American Dream, one finds them self in search of more--more power, more possessions, etcetera. One will never reach the American Dream because of the unquenchable thirst for more. This is the story of Tom Buchanan. In contrast, when one seeks to have the Dream, they find that what they want is either not available or is out of their reach. This is the story of Gatsby. Both sides, when put together, shows that, from either angle it's looked at, the American Dream is there, yet unavailable for one to grasp.After reading, one will notice that Tom Buchanan has everything that the American Dream has to offer--a nice house, a family, and large amounts of money. "Their [Tom and wife, Daisy] house was even more elaborate than I expected, a cheerful red and white Georgian Colonial mansion overlooking the bay." (11). It's even seen through the surrounding colors that he has the American Dream--"red", "white", and the blue "bay". The community he lives in is East Egg, known for its richness, extravagance, and prominence. This shows that he is indeed rich, prominent, and extravagant. In contrast, Gatsby is quite opposite. Gatsby is in search for the American Dream. His residence is in West Egg, known to be not as rich as East Egg. He is in pursuit ofof having what Tom has already accomplished. He is already there because of his current material possessions. Gatsby's own home is rather large, rich, well decorated and very flashy as well."...we wandered through Marie Antoinette music rooms and Restoration salons...through period bedrooms swathed in rose and lavender silk and vivid with new flowers, through dressing rooms and poolrooms, and bathrooms with sunken baths..." (96).Like Tom, Gatsby's house is very rich in elegance and sophistication. However, not every single room in his house is so ornate. "His bedroom was the simplest of all..." (97). This shows that Gatsby doesn't seem to enjoy the rich and fashionable look. He'd rather live in simplicity while all the ostentatious decorations are just for show and allow him to fit in around the numbers of the rich.In addition, Tom, although he has achieved the American Dream to its fullest, still wants...

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