The Unfortunate Demise Of The American Dream

1047 words - 4 pages

The Unfortunate Demise of the American DreamThe novel The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, raises many questions regarding the American Dream. The foremost question raised is this: is the American Dream dead? First, one must decide what the American Dream actually is. The American Dream can generally be described as the idea that in America anyone can achieve happiness and success through hard work. The idea of success through hard work especially appealed to the lower classes, which saw America as the Land of Opportunity. Is America the Land of Opportunity or is the Dream dead? In The Great Gatsby, there were groups of people who supposedly achieved it, almost achieved it, and did not achieve it at all. The reasons behind why each group encountered each fate reveal the truth about the status of the American Dream.The first group who seemed to achieve the American Dream is the Old Money. These people, such as Tom and Daisy Buchanan, had incredible amounts of wealth and beautiful properties. Tom and Daisy, for example, owned "a cheerful red-and-white Georgian Colonial mansion, overlooking the bay," "a lawn that started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walls and burning garden," and several automobiles (Fitzgerald 6). The money that bought this property had not been earned through hard work. Instead, the money came from Tom's family, who was "enormously wealthy" (6). Daisy's family was rich as well and had an elegant home. The Fay's home was so gorgeous that even Gatsby "had never been in such a beautiful house before," (148). No member of the Old Money social class genuinely earned his or her own money, for the money had been earned by previous family members. The ones who never worked for their money were the ones who enjoyed it and spent it carelessly. Nick even states "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made," (179). The concept of careless, cruel, and lazy people enjoying wealth that so many people lacked illustrates the corruption of the American Dream. In America, the rich were supposed earn their keep, but the Old Money was born into extravagance.Some people, such as Gatsby, came closer to fitting the traditional notion of the American Dream. Gatsby had been a poor boy who slowly worked his way up in society. Through his incredible work ethic, he had become just as wealthy as members of the Old Money. Despite incredible financial success, the Old Money excluded the newly rich and nothing could be done about it. Tom Buchanan looked down Gatsby for wearing a pink suit on page 122, for example. A pink suit was something only a person from New Money would wear, and because it was not refined and demure, Gatsby was seen as tacky. In addition, on page 107, Daisy...

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