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The Great Gatsby: the American Dream

  • Date Submitted: 11/23/2010 02:34 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52.3 
  • Words: 1164
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The intricate novel based on the American dream, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, explains many facets of how the American dream is not as wonderful as it seems. Throughout the novel, characteristics of societal corruption, adultery, and competition are all intertwined in the definition of the American dream, diminishing its value. There is great resonance in the novel of the hollowness of the upper class and of the diminishing American dream, both of which play hand-in-hand with the other. One would like to believe that the American dream can be defined as it is stemmed from the Declaration of Independence, stating “…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" (Burrell). However, it is the aforementioned undesirable traits of the American dream during the 1920’s that make this definition dwindle in the Great Gatsby. The American dream cannot be reached with the corruption, adultery, and judgments that are knotted in society.
In The Great Gatsby, a crucially important man would have to be Nick Carraway, for the novel is told completely through Nick’s eyes; his beliefs and perceptions shape and color the story itself. Nick ends the last page of the novel with his idea that the American dream is impure with the corruption from the upper class and, specifically applicable to Gatsby, Nick believes that lingering in the past will get one further from their dream. Gatsby’s motivation for success is the green light on Daisy’s dock, and the longer that he uses it as his motivation based on his illusions and fantasies, the further away it takes him from reaching his goal in reality. As if the problem with Gatsby lingering in the past did not make it hard enough for him to achieve the American dream he sought, the corruption in the definition of the American dream in the 1920’s, which would incorporate disloyalty, competition, and division...


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