Great Gatsby: Fitzgeralds Criticism Of The American Dream Essay

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Great Gatsby: Fitzgerald's Criticism of The American Dream

The American Dream, as it arose in the Colonial period and developed in the nineteenth century, was based on the assumption that each person, no matter what his origins, could succeed in life on the sole basis of his or her own skill and effort. The dream was embodied in the ideal of the self-made man, just as it was embodied in Fitzgerald's own family by his grandfather, P. F. McQuillan.
Fitzgerald's novel takes its place among other novels whose insights into the nature of the American dream have not affected the artistic form of the novel itself. The Great Gatsby serves as Fitzgerald's critique of the American dream.
     The Great Gatsby embodies a
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     Fitzgerald's critique of the American dream is developed through certain dominant images and symbols. Fitzgerald uses the green light as a symbol of hope, money, and jealousy. Hope signifies the center of the dream, but jealousy and lure of money pollute it. Gatsby is a noble man whose vision is fouled by his dream because he remains in a "wonder" at Daisy's presence throughout the novel. He is unable to see the carelessness and self-centeredness of Daisy whose "foul dust" destroys him. Fitzgerald also uses the contrasting images of the East and Midwest to develop his critique. The East denotes the place where the corruption of the American dream has occurred. Finally, at the end of the novel, Nick decides to move back West. Nick learns that this place of dishonesty, lack or morale, and lack of values is not the place for him.
     In the novel, The Great Gatsby, Scott F. Fitzgerald gives some severest criticism of the American dream ever written. That dream has been destroyed and polluted by the pursuit of material success. Fitzgerald is successfully able to identify the deficiencies of the American vision itself. Fitzgerald shows that the secret of life happiness is to
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