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The American Dream Demonstrated In Death Of A Salesman And The Great Gatsby

1602 words - 7 pages

Kayla Soileau
Mrs. Daigrepont
English III-2
28 April 2015
The American Nightmare
  Good Morning, Good Morning by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, when analyzed, presents an abstract and arcane concept of alienation. This song was written during a time when the Beatles had finally agreed to not tour the world but to focus on living life. John Lennon discovered that without the demanding schedule and the constant contact with his raging fans, he had “nothing.” In the song, Lennon speaks of a man who has “nothing to do [and] . . . nothing to do.” This lack of self worth in his everyday life translates into a lack of purpose in the community. The man in the song is experiencing alienation. ...view middle of the document...

In Gatsby’s pursuit of wealth, success, and fulfillment, he detaches himself from society and is alienated from the community, nature, labor, and himself. Jay Gatsby epitomizes the theme of alienation in his attempt at the American Dream. The American Dream is the ideal that one can achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative. The Great Gatsby is a novel that shows what happened to the American Dream in the 1920’s, the time period when the dreams of man became corrupted for many reasons. This corruption of man causes the characters to become alienated and isolated. The theme of alienation from nature plays an important role throughout the novel. Between West Egg and New York stands a “farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens,” and this region is called the “valley of ashes” (23). Fitzgerald uses the words “valley,” which is usually associated with green, fertile hills, agriculture, and life, and “ashes,” which is usually associated with factories, industry, and death, to create a sharp contrast, making the reader envision an abandoned and bare area stricken with poverty. This gray area was created due to characters like Gatsby, who care only about becoming successful. Gatsby’s myopic view causes him to forget the people that he is overlooking. By overlooking the hard working group of laborers in the “valley of ashes,” Gatsby isolates himself from the rest of the community. Fitzgerald also demonstrates Gatsby’s particular alienation from nature when he first mentions Gatsby’s mansion. He describes the house as “a colossal affair by any standard . . . with a tower on one side, spanking new under a thin beard of raw ivy, and a marble swimming pool, and more than forty acres of lawn and garden” (5). The description of the mansion gives the reader an image of a garish and flamboyant chateau. The nature associated with Gatsby’s mansion gives the reader an image of a yard where everything is perfect without a single leaf out of place, in contrast to the image of grass and plants growing freely and bounteously. Gatsby’s yard is evidence of his alienation from nature because in Gatsby’s world, nature is prim and proper, whereas in actuality, nature is free and abundant. In addition to his detachment from nature, Gatsby shows a disconnection from labor. When he was younger, Gatsby worked hard as “a clam-digger and a salmon-fisher or in any other capacity that brought him food and bed,” (98) but as he aged and became more successful, he lost the mentality that one had to work hard to receive the luxuries and necessities of life. Over the years, Gatsby eventually gained servants who would do the tedious and hard-labor requiring work for him. When Gatsby prepared for his grandiose parties, “eight servants, including an extra gardener, toiled all day with mops and scrubbing-brushes and hammers and garden-shears, repairing the ravages of the night before” (39). Gatsby even used a “machine...

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