Misery and the American Dream in The Great Gatsby Essay

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"No— Gatsby turned out all right in the end. It is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men." When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote these words in The Great Gatsby in 1925, he perfectly described the human struggle of the time. This was, by no means, accidental--for Fitzgerald wrote meticulously and very rarely did he leave a line unrevised. No— Fitzgerald knew what he was doing; he was, in two sentences, criticizing American society like no one else had. Oh!, and what that "foul dust" turned out to be: the foundation of our morality, our greatest aspiration and our heaviest of fetters, the American Dream. It is…show more content…
Like many others, Gatsby has fallen victim to the American Dream, the idea that he will have all he has ever wanted only after acquiring vaults of riches and elegance and beauty. He cannot have Daisy a poor man, no, he must be rich; one can only have what one desires after amassing great wealth. But it is this dream that preys on Gatsby; in the end, he becomes obsessed by the means to impress Daisy and he becomes materialistic and empty. Gatsby, the greatest of men, the most devoted lover, the all-too-pathetic Don Quixote, has fallen prey to this foul dust, it has asphyxiated his very being and it has killed him. The American Dream, in essence, is but a faulty perception of the world. It attempts to find felicity in all that is gilt. And guilty is a society that bases happiness on something as worthless as gold; for what does the warm kiss of light on the skin and the taste of water cost man? It is this theme of misconceptions and blindness that recurs through Fitzgerald's work. It stares at us, scrutinizes us, like the gigantic, blue, spectacled and myopic eyes of Dr. Eckleburg. Fitzgerald gives us Dr. Eckleburg to accentuate America's blindness. America is not only blind, but also near-sighted; America lives for today, for pleasure and prodigality. She cannot
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