The American Dream In The Great Gatsby Analysis

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The American dream can mean many different things and can be interpreted in different ways. To some people, the American dream is the belief that if a person works hard enough, he or she can be successful in America no matter what race, gender, or nationality. In the 1920’s, the concept of the American dream was very much the same, that an individual can achieve success in life regardless of family history or social status if he or she works hard enough. By having money, a car, a big house, expensive clothes, and a loving family symbolizes the American dream. In the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the 1920’s is a time period in which the American dream becomes corrupt and dangerous. For Jay Gatsby, a main character in the novel, his American dream is about gaining wealth and material possessions in order to find happiness. Through his decision to symbolize wealth, superficiality, irresponsibility, and foreshadowing, Fitzgerald conveys the the theme that the American dream is a perfect concept and is something that can never be accomplished, but can always be reached for. To Jay Gatsby, his corrupt American dream is symbolized by Daisy Buchanan, a woman he is so in love with he will do anything to get her back. Gatsby sees wealth as a solution to his problems. Raised from a poor childhood to being a millionaire with servants, a huge house, and dozens of friends, Gatsby exemplifies the idea of self-made success. All of these pieces of the American dream that Gatsby acquired were actually elements that eventually led to his downfall. In chapter one, the reader is first introduced to Gatsby in a very unusual way, “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as i was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward-and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far way, that might have been the end of a dock. When I looked once more for Gatsby he had vanished, and I was alone again in the unique darkness” (Fitzgerald 21). In this first glimpse of Gatsby, he is reaching towards something off in the distance, out of reach. This image of the green light ties in with the American dream that people are always reaching for
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