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The American Dream Within The Great Gatsby

761 words - 4 pages

The American Dream within The Great Gatsby

Part of The Great Gatssby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, that was noticed for its message throughout the book was the American Dream and what it truly meant to achieve it. In Gatsby, the American Dream is starkly portrayed as having immense wealth, power, and being higher up than those less fortunate in life. Some of the characters in the book, Tom, Daisy, and Jordan, have all had wealth for most of their lives and they show little regard for those less fortunate, being corrupted by greed and selfishness.
Everyone has their own version of what the American Dream is and what it means to them. Identity is important to every person because it shows other people who they really are. An example of a character that has wealth and some power is Tom Buchannan, the husband of Daisy, who's the cousin of Nick Carraway, who lives next door to Gatsby. Tom has money, however he doesn't seem to have a whole lot of brain in him. ...view middle of the document...

An example throughout the book of his negligence is his actions towards his mistress, Myrtle Wilson. Tom is married himself to Daisy, yet he has a secret affair with another woman. He breaks Myrtles nose at one point because she said Daisy's name repeatedly. Basically, he uses her and treats her like she's nothing. But Tom is furious when he finds Daisy is having an affair, so this makes him a hypocrite. His selfishness and arrogance make him believe he is superior to those around him because he's "more of a man then them". However, the protagonist, Jay Gatsby, truly did reach the American Dream.
Gatsby achieved the American Dream, yet he became somewhat corrupted due to his old business, like bootlegging for example. He himself is a self-made man, and that helps prove that he truly achieved it. Before entering World War 1, he was poor and had no money. After the war happened and he saw Daisy married Tom while he was away, he put an idea in his head of who he wanted to become. He followed that idea and believed in it so much, that he made it happen. When the narrator of the book, Nick, meets and sees Gatsby for the first time, he realizes how wealthy Gatsby is. He has a huge mansion with a bay view and a pool, all the while throwing excessive, elegant parties every weekend, catered with hundreds of crates of food and drinks. Though Gatsby is wealthy, he has morals that show in his character. He has regard for those less fortunate in life. He's not self centered and arrogant, like Tom. His true purpose for becoming wealthy was just so he could be reunited with Daisy, his true love. Wealth didn't have that much value to him, as he cared for other things more.
Conclusively, the American Dream is a goal that someone sets in their own mind of who they want to be. If they achieve it or not is entirely up to them. Gatsby followed what he believed in and achieved it, getting the wealth he desired. The 1920's was a decade of sex, alcohol and violence, which was portrayed close to what is was in The Great Gatsby. A persons own identity was and is important, as it shows others who they truly are, which was a big deal back in the 1920's, with bootleggers on the rise due to Prohibition, status was almost everything. In order to succeed, you had to have money in order to blend in with all the other men in high society.

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