F. Scott Fitzgerald 's The Great Gatsby

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The American Dream in The Great Gatsby Ever since the formation of America, cultural values and ideals have been strongly centered on the belief that any man, no matter his initial station in life, can achieve greatness and prosperity, should he be willing to work hard and have initiative. Americans had trust in the idea that they would find a certain level of success, as long as the aforementioned traits were put into practice; no prerequisites were required to obtain these goals, and all people had a chance to better their situation. However, this long held belief was put into question in the aftermath of the First World War; millions of soldiers and civilians were killed, advanced methods of warfare destroyed homes and cities, and the…show more content…
Values such as hard work and ambition became twisted into something entirely different and negative. A display of materialism is seen in the decadence of both Old Egg and West Egg; examples such as the Buchanans’ Colonial style mansion, Gatsby’s luxury sports car, and Gatsby’s mansion. Also seen are poor moral values to achieve goals, such as Gatsby’s being part of a criminal enterprise to attain wealth or Jordan Baker cheating in a golf tournament to further her career. All actions are done to achieve their version of the American Dream, but the method taken contradicts traditional morals and values associated with the American Dream, such as hard, honest work. In addition, the American Dream is shown to be largely unattainable for most. Almost all characters’ attempts to find happiness end in failure. Wilson toils in his garage to have a comfortable life with his wife, but she has an affair with another man, and dies in a hit and run. Gatsby goes through the archetypical rags to riches experience in an effort to reconnect with Daisy, but loses her and dies along with his dream. No matter what lengths characters go to, their dreams are just out of reach. At the end of the novel, the narrator, Nick Carraway, reflects on this dying dream, saying “…his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled
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