F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and the American Dream

1456 Words 6 Pages
The Great Gatsby and the American Dream

Webster's dictionary describes the American dream as the widespread aspiration of Americans to live better than their parents did. F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby is a literary masterpiece that takes a fascinating look at the nature of the American dream that made its fiery inception during the American War of Independence 1776-83 when it became the central theme of the American Declaration of Independence. In short, it stated, "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by God, Creator, with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" (Dream 1). Through the voice of the
…show more content…
The American society was largely composed of white, Anglo Saxons who wished to uphold their "dominant race" (17), and thus they sought to subdue others who were ethnically different. Tom's statement "It's up to us who are the dominant race to watch out or these other races will have control" (17) contrasted sharply with the vision of the American dream that the founding fathers of America foresaw. The founding principles of the America dream guaranteed all people freedom from oppression and all were seen as equal before God. The Declaration of Independence does not declare "some men, it says all men" (Dream 1) have the right to wealth and happiness. In contrast, the poor, like Gatsby, who seek wealth and happiness, are "beaten down" (18) by the dominant white society. Fitzgerald refers to the wealthy as a "careless people" (188) who "smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money...and let other people clean up the mess they had made" (188). As a result, the unfortunate were despised and trodden under the gilded feet of the rich.

Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby becomes a strong critic of the abuse of wealth in American society. For instance, the author states that the rich "possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it…