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Essay: The explanation of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
  • Reading time: 5 minutes
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  • Published: June 18, 2021*
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  • Tags: The Great Gatsby essays
  • The explanation of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby
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The explanation of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby has two key problems like delusion and actuality. Fitzgerald showed how delusion represents Jay Gatsby as a young American dreamer. “Because Gatsby places all his hope for happiness in Daisy and what it takes to get such a girl he is ultimately ruined by his romantic idealism.” (Hearne, Kimberly, pp193). The Great Gatsby, which is one of Fitzgerald most important book during that time, made many critics analysis the way he views the American Dream. Many critics were open minded and have been able to recognize that the idea that everyone comprehend is immature and unrealistic. Fairness is being able to know different ideas and free thinking that is one option that many critics views that Fitzgerald intended with his works. Because The Great Gatsby shows many problems that are still unsolved to this day, many people do not think it is a classic novel. The American dream is brought alive in Gatsby’ character. He was a native with a dream of becoming rich and reaching his dreams of being very successful. Gatsby could achieve his dreams by going against everything he believes in and chasing his dream through criminal acts. The Great Gatsby shows that the unrealistic view of the American Dream is abused by obsession, motivation and dishonesty throughout the society.

F. Scott Fitzgerald has been one of the most famous and recognized author during the “Jazz Age”. One of his most famous works that has become a classic novel in the American culture is called “The Great Gatsby”. In the novel, Scott Fitzgerald created many resemblances between himself and both Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway. Fitzgerald was born in the Midwest, just like Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway. Carraway with his high standards represented Fitzgerald’s perfect self, as for Gatsby, he represented Fitzgerald’s actual self. This novel has a brief picture of what the wealthy society of the United States was becoming in the 1920s. Fitzgerald was a wonderful example of the American Dream idea, as his main character in The Great Gatsby many critics believe that Fitzgerald’s characteristic was portrayed by Gatsby in this novel. Jay Gatsby was a farmer ‘son who dreamed of having lots of money, being able to throw unexpected parties and gain the lost love of an upper-class women. In this novel, the American Dream idea becomes a part of Gatsby who can make his dreams come true but with fraud living a twisted dark truth about this dream. Each character in the story can provide an example of this unrealistic idea of the American Dream. Each character throughout the novel is represented through their own personality. Fitzgerald was about to use his characters to tell the story that not many people could be able to tell.

Jay Gatsby is the main character in this novel. He is a man that can make his wealth by doing risky business. He could manage a story of his life “I am the son of some wealthy people in the Middle West…is a family tradition” (Fitzgerald,48) but unfortunately for him this story brought him more doubts from other people. When Gatsby was young he fell in love with an upper-class woman named Daisy but is unable to satisfy his dream of marrying her because he didn’t have enough money. In the meantime, he can make his wealth from selling alcohol, which at the time was illegal. Even after he became rich and got everything he wanted, he still manages to go back to Daisy, who now was already married. For Gatsby to complete his dream, he had to have Daisy for himself. These actions cause Gatsby to do whatever it takes to fulfill his dreams of getting what he wants. Nick Carraway, who is telling the story, is the only one who became best friends with Gatsby. He brought balance to the story. He travels to the East Coast to discovery peace and that’s why many believed that his character shared some features of Fitzgerald like being quiet and open minded. Nick has a connection with a cold-hearted woman named Jordan, but the only thing that is attractive is her intelligence. Nick character is the only one that can see beyond all the dishonesty and fraud of the other characters. This makes him the perfect person to narrator the novel. This helps the reader see passed what the book is trying to tell us, this helps us see what is really happen using someone else’s point of view. “Tom’s got some woman in New York.” (Fitzgerald, pp.14), this is the first evidence that Nick notices when he goes to see Daisy, who is his second cousin. “It seemed to me that the thing for Daisy to do was to rush out of the house, child in arms-but apparently, there were no such intentions in her head” (18). To the fact that Nick could see the relationship between Daisy and Tom as fake.

Daisy and Tom Buchanan are shown in the story as cold blooded people who only care about themselves. Gatsby is blinded by loved and cannot see that Daisy was not the person he thought she was. ”His hand took hold of hers, and as she said something low in his ear he turned toward her with a rush…-that voice was a deathless song.” (69). In this novel Fitzgerald shows the upper class as cold hearted people who can play with other people hearts and misery. The careful relationship of Daisy and Tom is very weird because they didn’t have the love that married couples have but at the same time they are able to understand each other, “There was an unmistakable air of natural intimacy about the picture, and anybody would have said that they were conspiring together” (101). Tom is very self-centered and old fashion but he cheated on his wife with some other woman who was later killed by Daisy. Later, Tom goes to the husband of the woman killed and tells him that Gatsby was the one who killed her because he was the driving. During the last few pages of the novel, the man that Tom talked to goes and kills himself and Gatsby because he could stand to live without his wife. These events showed how Fitzgerald can make us understand how ruthless Daisy and Tom were. “So, I walked away and left him standing there in the moonlight-watching over nothing.” (101). By this point of the novel, Gatsby could not see that his love for Daisy was killing him literally and figuratively. In just minutes, everything he worked so hard to achieve was all gone. At the end of the story, Nick who became Gatsby’s best friend tries to bring people to Gatsby funeral but no one shows up only his father. This shows that most of the people who came to his parties were only there to have fun. No one really cared about who Gatsby really was. Fitzgerald does a decent job showing how this is the life we live in. Not that many people care about anyone they just show up to events to show off.

Throughout the novel, the idea of the American Dream is shown by all the dishonesty in privacy of the characters. Fitzgerald was one of the most true dreamers in the 20s because he could portray and bring alive this idea that anyone could become rich but at the same time he was able to be realistic and show how they got rich. Also he was able to show that having a lot of money does not mean you are happy. “Fitzgerald embodied in his tissues and nervous system the fluid polarities of American experiences: success and failure, illusion and disillusion, dream and nightmare.” (Callahan John, pp.1). The search of happiness for Gatsby was to go back with Daisy because he thought this was his destiny. Gatsby couldn’t see the reality of his actions, he achieved the American Dream but he lost everything because of his obsession for Daisy. He never really knew what he had achieved in his life until he was all taken away from him because of his love to some woman. Gatsby never understood what they really could do to him because he never realized what the people in his life meant to him.

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