Essay on “Jay Gatsby Is a Man for Our Times”

1213 Words Apr 19th, 2008 5 Pages
“We talk about the American Dream, and want to tell the world about the American Dream, but what is the dream, in most cases, but the dream of material things? I sometimes think that the United States for this reason is the greatest failure the world has ever seen.” -Eugene O’Neil

Through various pieces of literature, including F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, the words of Eugene O’Neil are undeniably and vividly illustrated valid on innumerable occasions. The American Dream, dissected to its bare skin and bones, is all about prosperity and the relentless pursuit of happiness through material possessions. However, what does the dream evolve into once the ideals and goals have been fulfilled? The protagonist of
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Fitzgerald displays Gatsby as man who came from nothing, with an unrelenting passion to obtain material success, or the 1920’s American Dream. Radical transformation was one of Mr. Gatsby’s most outstanding characteristics, taking his desire to change from the once impoverished man to the point of changing his name. Certainly Gatsby possesses admirable traits, as his will power is once again displayed through the longing for his lost love, Daisy. The misconceptions of the time period are illustrated as Fitzgerald displays that Gatsby’s underlying desire for money is to win over Daisy through impressing her with his wealth. Within Adam Cohen’s piece “Jay Gatsby Is a Man for Our Times”, Cohen discusses the worthiness of Gatsby’s goal: “The callow Daisy, whose voice is ‘full of money,’ may not be a worthy goal. But Gatsby’s longing for her, and his willingness to sell his soul to pursue her, are the purest thing in this sordid tale.” Essentially, Fitzgerald demonstrates that Gatsby, nor his relentless will to succeed, are not the issue. It is the time period, along with the misconceptions of a dream, which corrupt the character. Gatsby’s wealth is obtained through unethical ways, like many others who followed the path of easy money. The corruption of bonds does bring Gatsby the wealth he had always longed for, along with extravagant and lavish parties at his mansion. Consequently, we learn that reaching the goal of obtaining wealth ultimately does not lead to

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