Want a better understanding of The Great Gatsby American Dream?
This blog post analyses the Great Gatsby American Dream themes, characters, and symbols.
The Great Gatsby is a timeless classic that vividly analyzes the American Dream. Its characters and plot reveal its grand aspirations and ultimate disappointment.
What does the great gatsby say about the American dream?
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is an iconic novel that has often been used to represent the idealism of the American Dream. The novel follows Jay Gatsby and his pursuit of wealth and status to win back the love of Daisy Buchanan.
Though Gatsby ultimately fails in his quest due to his unlawful and immoral means of acquiring wealth, the novel serves as a reminder that the American Dream can be corrupted by greed.
As author Sarah Churchwell states, “Gatsby is Fitzgerald’s critique of the American dream: its grandeur, its corruption. It’s not a rejection of that dream, but certainly a warning about it.”
The novel also serves as a reminder that living in pursuit of material goods and wealth alone isn’t fulfilling. And this shallow pursuit may even be destructive in the end.
While The Great Gatsby can be seen as a representation of the American Dream, it also serves as a cautionary tale of how greed can corrupt one’s ambition. It’s a reminder to think twice before giving in to the temptations of wealth and status, lest they become distractions that lead away from true happiness.
The novel also highlights the concept of living a truly fulfilling life. One must have meaningful relationships with others and pursue goals based on ideals other than wealth.
Ultimately, The Great Gatsby serves as a reminder of the power and potential of the American Dream but also warns of its possible pitfalls.
Examples of the American Dream In The Great Gatsby
Each character from The Great Gatsby represents a facet of the 1920s American Dream. For some, it inspires growth. For others, it inspires greed.
Jay Gatsby And The American Dream
Gatsby is desperate to reach the pinnacle of success that the American Dream promises, yet his desperate attempts to acquire it comes with a hefty price. The relentless pursuit of his goals leads him to the shadows of the American Dream, where he is met with disappointment and emptiness.
Gatsby represents the timeless American Dream, which entailed achieving immense wealth and elevated social standing. He ardently believes that these goals will bring him joy and contentment.
He goes to such lengths to restructure his life completely around achieving his aim, investing every one of his possessions to acquire a luxurious estate, holding ostentatious gatherings, and participating in various disputable business ventures.
Furthermore, he alters his history to make himself appear more alluring to Daisy Buchanan, the individual he is enamored with.
Gatsby constantly strives for more, and the green light represents that desire. He looks longingly at it, hoping that he will eventually get what he wants and be fulfilled.
Regrettably, Gatsby’s endeavors are ultimately fruitless. His struggle to obtain the American Dream is hindered by his imperfections and the materialistic mindsets of those around him.
Despite putting forth his best efforts, Gatsby never succeeds in his ambitions because of his innocence, Daisy’s disloyalty, and Tom Buchanan’s authority. Ultimately, Gatsby learns that money and prestige are insufficient to guarantee contentment, and his endeavor to capture the American Dream is in vain.
Daisy Buchanan and the American Dream
Daisy Buchanan epitomizes the American Dream by representing wealth, privilege, and a desire for a luxurious lifestyle. She is an upper-class member and has faith in the ability of money to get her what she wants, namely marriage to a well-off family.
She decides to marry Tom Buchanan, hailing from a wealthy, established family, and live an opulent lifestyle in East Egg. The financial security she gains from the marriage does not satisfy her emotionally.
She longs for autonomy and freedom, yet she is restricted by the expectations of her social circle and the limitations of a patriarchal system. She hopes to do what she desires without being concerned about repercussions.
She has all the material things she could ever want but no one to share them with. She’s surrounded by luxury and prestige, yet she still feels hollow and alone; her husband doesn’t show her the affection she craves, and her daughter is facing a future of not being loved.
Despite her wealth and status, her life lacks the one thing money can’t buy – companionship.
In the end, Daisy’s aspiration does not fully come to pass, and she experiences the loss of someone dear to her. Her trouble shows how hard it is to obtain the quintessential American Dream, even for those with privilege.
Jordan Baker And the American Dream
The female characters in The Great Gatsby pose a multifaceted view of the American Dream. Jordan Baker exemplifies this concept with her golfing lifestyle and independence, yet she can only do so due to her family’s economic fortune.
As a result, her placement in society does not perfectly reflect the American Dream. Additionally, her main ambition is to get married, demonstrating the constraints of traditional female roles.
The other female characters in the novel also push the boundaries of their societal roles but ultimately either fall into line or are killed, which casts a bleak shadow over the idea that anyone of any gender can make it in America.
This view of the American Dream presented in The Great Gatsby is even further pessimistic when seen through the lens of its female characters.
The female characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby provide a unique look into the realities of pursuing the American Dream.
Examining their experiences reveals the importance of considering the differences between members of society when assessing the implications of striving for success. This underscores the necessity of recognizing the impact of disparities while still striving to achieve one’s goals.
Tom Buchanan And The American Dream
Tom Buchanan is a character in The Great Gatsby who appears to have achieved the American Dream. He is wealthy, lives a lavish lifestyle throws extravagant parties, and is married to a beautiful woman with a daughter.
He is seen as idealistic, suggesting that having money and power can lead to happiness.
Tom is an example of the American Dream in that he has achieved the status and lifestyle associated with it, despite his lack of self-awareness. Although he appears successful in his life, it’s ultimately revealed to be empty and unsatisfying.
Feeling unfulfilled, Tom has an affair with a married woman, leading to her death. Tom almost loses both women because of his greed and selfishness. His unfaithfulness emphasizes that money and possessions don’t bring true fulfillment.
Tom’s journey illustrates the potential dangers of focusing too heavily on consumerism and materialism when striving for the American Dream. Through Tom’s story, Fitzgerald delves into the lack of meaningfulness and pointlessness of the American Dream.
The American Dream And Nick Carraway
Nick Carraway is the main character of the classic novel The Great Gatsby. He moves from the Midwest to New York City, dreaming of achieving financial prosperity and professional success.
Nick begins working in the competitive field of bond sales and eventually achieves his goals by the end of the story.
Nick pursues the American Dream of finding true love and companionship, exemplified by his relationship with Jordan Baker and his friendship with Jay Gatsby.
Nick is exposed to the luxurious lifestyle of Long Island while being around Gatsby, although Gatsby’s idealistic pursuit of Daisy Buchanan eventually fails. Nevertheless, Nick remains determined to fulfill his dream.
Nick is a representation of the American Dream. He leaves his small-town life, seeking success in a bigger city. Nick is an outsider looking in on the luxurious lifestyle of the wealthy, which he desires.
His journey is representative of many people’s aspirations for a better life and embodies the idea of an idealized America.
Nick is no longer enamored with accumulating wealth and power at the novel’s end. He instead appreciates the ambition and determination that Gatsby had in pursuing his dreams, regardless of the outcome.
Symbols of the American Dream In The Great Gatsby
Fitzgerald’s masterpiece, The Great Gatsby, examines and evaluates the concept of the American Dream. By utilizing its characters and their luxurious lifestyles, he illustrates opulence and fortune as representative of the pursuit of the American Dream.
The most prominent symbol representing the American Dream is Gatsby’s mansion. The mansion symbolizes the idea of the American Dream because it reminds him of what Gatsby’s wealth has afforded him and the luxurious lifestyle he leads.
Furthermore, it represents his dream to be reunited with Daisy. He knows she lives a luxurious life and thinks his mansion will impress her.
The green beacon at Daisy’s pier represents the American Dream in the book. It manifests Gatsby’s dreams and wishes of being reunited with her, a sign of his expectations of a fresh start.
Gatsby’s car reminds him of his wealth and social status, symbolizing the power and freedom attached. For instance, it enabled him to get away with a speeding ticket by pulling out a card given to him by a police commissioner for whom he had done a favor.
Gatsby’s avarice eventually leads to his downfall. Daisy drives Gatsby’s vehicle and accidentally hits and kills a female, culminating in Gatsby’s murder.
Failure of the American Dream In The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is often viewed as a classic novel that exemplifies the failure of the American Dream. Through its narrative, Fitzgerald portrays a world where material wealth is attainable by any man or woman willing to pursue it but still falls short of true happiness.
This disillusionment is embodied in the character of Jay Gatsby, whose representation as a tragic hero reflects his inability to achieve his dream of love, wealth, and success.
Gatsby is obsessed with achieving a luxurious lifestyle that will help him win back the love of his former flame, Daisy Buchanan. This dream so blinds him that he fails to realize it can’t be attained without dangerous consequences.
Gatsby can’t win Daisy’s heart again despite his wealth and fancy lifestyle. The irony is that he has spent so much time trying to recapture the past and yearning for a better future but has failed to appreciate what he already had.
Gatsby’s pursuit of the American Dream is unsuccessful as his wealth, status, and material possessions fail to bring him true joy. Throughout the novel, Gatsby cannot find the happiness he is seeking, which is reflected in the overall feeling of emptiness at the end of the book, which reflects Fitzgerald’s unhappiness with the idea of the American Dream.
Gatsby’s journey exemplifies how unfulfilling it can be to chase after wealth and status. His story reminds us that, rather than obsessing over material things, we should strive to find true happiness and fulfillment by cherishing our relationships and valuing what is truly important.
The Great Gatsby The American Dream Quotes With Page Numbers
[H]e stretched out his arms toward the dark water. . . . I . . . distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far way. . . . When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished. . . .
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Page 20
‘Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge,’ I thought; ‘anything at all. . . .’ Even Gatsby could happen, without any particular wonder.
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Page 69
“We drew in deep breaths . . . as we walked back . . . through the cold vestibules, unutterably aware of our identity with this country for one strange hour, before we melted indistinguishably into it again.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Page 107
“Why they came East I don’t know. . . . I had no sight into Daisy’s heart, but I felt that Tom would drift on forever seeking, a little wistfully, for the dramatic turbulence of some irrecoverable football game.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Page 10
“But [Doctor Eckleburg’s] eyes, dimmed a little by many paintless days under the sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Page 19
Does Gatsby embody the ideals of the American Dream?
For some, the American Dream is the belief that with hard work, determination, and dedication, anyone can become successful and reach their dreams regardless of their background or upbringing.
Gatsby is an example of this idea, having come from a less privileged background, but through his ambition, he achieved great wealth and success.
For others, Gatsby is a clear example of the dangers of chasing material wealth and status. He has sacrificed his morality in pursuit of material gain, and although he has achieved financial success, his life ultimately ends in tragedy. Ultimately, the answer to this question is subjective and depends on your interpretation of the American Dream.
Conclusion: Lessons From The Great Gatsby American Dream
The American dream is often misinterpreted. Its values are not focused on gaining wealth, owning things, or acquiring power. These are steps rather than the ultimate goal.
You can find happiness with what you have while working towards goals and dreams. You succeed if you work toward a worthy goal or an ideal. No matter what you’ve achieved, you’re unsuccessful if you’re not grateful for what you have and always want more.
Jay Gatsby is a failure of the American dream for three reasons. Firstly, Gatsby’s goals were outer-directed, based on other people’s opinions of him. He wanted people to like him for his wealth and power. Secondly, one of his goals was to make a married woman fall in love with him. Lastly, the means he chose were either illegal or immoral.
I maintain that the American Dream is still a valuable concept. However, Jay Gatsby’s story illustrates a downfall associated with its pursuit.
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