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The American Dream in the Great Gatsby

  • Date Submitted: 05/31/2012 06:36 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 65.8 
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The American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a story about love falling apart told through the eyes of a rich man, Nick, in the 1920s Long Island New York.   When looking deeper however, this story is a strong commentary on what has happened to the American Dream at the time.   I will show by examining the Great Gatsby that F. Scott Fitzgerald believed that the American Dream has been corrupted and that it has led to much hardship among the poor and the corruption and ultimate destruction of the rich in America.
In order to explore this subject we must define the American Dream.   This concept is what America was built on, its citizens are driven to work hard and generate wealth because of it.   The American Dream has been ingrained in the United States from the Declaration of Independence which states "all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The basic idea is that no matter whom you are or what situation you were born, you can achieve any level of success and wealth you want as long as you have the ability and motivation.
F. Scott Fitzgerald has a much different view.   He describes his view of the American Dream though Nick in Chapter nine.   He has a much different view of the dream: "tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther....And one fine morning----- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." Chapter 9, pg. 182.   Also, in chapter 4 Nick exclaims, "A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: 'There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.'” Chapter 4, pg.62.   Through these quotes we can see Fitzgerald believes that the American Dream definitely motivates people to success, however can become an endless pursuit to nowhere.
The obvious problem of the pursuit of wealth is that it leaves...


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