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The American Dream In The Great Gatsby And The Grapes Of Wrath

974 words - 4 pages

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (Independence Hall Association, 2011).” This exert from The Declaration of Independence provides a look on America and how life is meant to be lived; with all individuals having an equal right to exist. This existence includes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This beacons to one vital idea, one main vision, which creates a fundamental dream. This dream is the American Dream, and is the ideology that life should be richer, fuller, and more sustainable for the common man. The idea influences viewpoints that anything can be accomplished with the correct willpower, no matter the hill to climb. This fore mentioned dream causes much hope and opportunity, but additionally makes the weakest link plummet. The true American Dream can be chased, but exists if and only if the one trying for it can accept failure and move on. This continually presents itself in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
Taking place in the height of the Great Depression, Grapes depicts the Joads, a family with no wealth that loses everything due to foreclosure and repossession. This family continually looks for both jobs and stability, which are reflected in the synopsis of the novel. This is their American Dream. But when it is only partially, and temporarily, reached, this dream crumbles to the dust, figuratively and literally. This is similar in Gatsby, as though Jay Gatsby has wealth, he cannot reconnect with his one love in the world, Daisy. Throwing lavish parties in an attempt to lure Daisy to his mansion, Gatsby’s American Dream is not one of money, but rather of love. The only intention of Gatsby is to attract Daisy onto himself once more, as he did before in Louisville. As stated, “It was a strange coincidence,’ (Nick) said.
But it wasn’t a coincidence at all.’
‘Why not?’
‘Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay (Fitzgerald, 2011).”
This further proves that Gatsby’s only purpose in life is to live for the opportunity to associate with Daisy. When this happens, Gatsby is ecstatic, but this later comes plummeting down. As is shown, the American Dream fluctuates from person to person, thus making a false implementation of success, when the idea of success can just be altered to fit.
Considering that it can be changed to fit, the American Dream is thus never truly met, only falsely acclaimed. Grapes shows this by having the Joads change from their previous dream, to farm on their owned land, to the present dream, of moving to California and finding sustainable work there. The American Dream can only be reasonable and fit the situation at hand, which why it is always allowed to be changed. This proves that it is never truly met, as exceptions and excuses can and will be made,...

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