Selfishness Explored in The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath

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From a young age, our parents teach us to be grateful for what we have. However, as human beings and Americans, we * find it difficult to be content with what we consider “less.” Much of the American Dream revolves around success, and in general, the more you have, whether it is money, possessions, or relationships, the more successful you are. The American value of achievement often results in selfishness, once described by William E. Gladstone as “the greatest curse of the human race” (William E. Gladstone quotes, 2010). Collectively, The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath demonstrate how selfishness breaks society, affecting both the individual as well as those around him, and how selflessness repairs it. Loneliness results from…show more content…
*** His connection with his family is weak, and he has few friends. Nick sums up Gatsby’s lamentable fate with this observation from the funeral, “The minister glanced several times at his watch, so I took him aside and asked him to wait for half an hour. But it wasn’t any use. Nobody came” (Fitzgerald, 1925). Selfishness rarely results in the outcome we desire and oftentimes leaves us alone with our sorrows and lost hopes. More devastating than just affecting the individual, selfishness breaks up families. In The Grapes of Wrath, Connie and Rose of Sharon, a young and vibrant couple, have high hopes for their future together. While * nothing is wrong with having dreams, the couple refuses to acknowledge the reality of their family’s dire situation. Throughout their journey to California, Connie and Rose of Sharon selfishly fantasize about what their life will be like, and they naïvely believe * their lives will turn around very soon. Connie confidently remarks that he is going to study and start making $3 a day, and Rose of Sharon is steadfast that * she will give birth in a nice cozy house. Even Pa says that Connie is “all the time a-sayin’ what he’s a-gonna do. Never doin’ nothin’” (Steinbeck, 1967). In the meantime, Ma struggles to feed the family and get them all safely to California in hopes of finding work that will even pay a few pennies. Besides this, Connie seems to feel no obligation towards his pregnant

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