Failure Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby Analysis

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The Failure of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This analysis of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald will define the failure of the American Dream in the character of Jay Gatsby. Jay Gatsby’s “rag to riches” story defines the failure to understand the inability of poor people to actually become a member of the American upper classes. In one way, Gatsby was able to gain considerable wealth in the American economy, but his background as an agrarian farmer prevents him from being accepted into aristocracy of Long Island. More so, Gatsby’s quest to gain the love of Daisy by becoming wealthy defines the shallow materialism of his vision of the American Dream that ultimately ends in with his own death at the hands of Tom Buchanan. Jay’s rise to wealth and prosperity is an example of the rare exception of a talented individual rising to the upper classes, but he could not maintain this position in the strict class rankings of the American aristocracy. In essence, an examination of the failure of the American Dream will be defined in this analysis of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Jay Gatsby’s class background provides a context for the failure of the American Dream in relation to his vision of success in the American economy. Certainly, Jay has gained considerable financial wealth by being able to rise from a poor farmer to a wealthy resident of West Egg, Long Island. In this manner, it appears that Jay has succeeded in becoming a member of the nouveau riche, which does reveal a great achievement in his financial success. However, Jay’s vision of the American Dream was to become wealthy in order to gain the love of Daisy—a member of the old aristocracy. Jay’s class background defines the rags-to-riches story in his climb to wealthy and prosperity:
His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people—his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself (Fitzgerald 98).
This class background defines the immediate appearance of the success of the American Dream, yet it also defines the dangerous materialism of Jay’s obsession with Daisy. Jay’s true
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