The American Dream In The Great Gatsby Analysis

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Characters Corrupted: the American Dream in the Great Gatsby Throughout the contemporary history of America, people have outwardly exuded their own confidences that a better life was within their reach. The novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald explores dreams and how they affect and ultimately corrupt dreamers. Fitzgerald tells the story of a poor, midwestern man who goes to seemingly endless lengths to achieve the goal of a richer life in New York. This man, Jay Gatsby, reinvents himself, amasses a fortune through illegal activity, and funnels his wealth into a single goal: win back his lost love, Daisy. Gatsby’s dream for his new life with Daisy consumes him, similar to the dreams and ultimate fates of other characters in this novel. The characters all harbor their own version of the American dream in their minds. The American dream is the idea that “[E]very man, whatever his origins, may pursue and attain his chosen goals, be they political, monetary, or social” (Pearson 638). There is a common belief that America guarantees the means to achieve a better life and a hopeful future, but people fail to realize that the American dream is an unfulfilled promise. Each character in the Great Gatsby is corrupted in some ways by a dream, or conversely corrupted by the lacking of one. F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the characters’ vulnerabilities and flaws to show the corruption of their interpretation of the American dream. Jay Gatsby, the title character of this novel, is one prominent example of a man that the American dream has failed. Originally known as James Gatz, he transformed into Jay Gatsby, springing “from his Platonic conception of himself” (Fitzgerald 98). His dream manifested itself in human form after meeting Daisy Fay, who was “by far the most popular of all the young girls in Louisville” (Fitzgerald 74). She is the quintessential American rich girl, and she becomes Gatsby’s ultimate prize. He grows to be obsessed with her, buying a house in West Egg “‘so that Daisy would be just across the bay’” (Fitzgerald 78). Meanwhile, it is likely that Daisy has long forgotten about Gatsby and moved on with Tom, her husband. Gatsby’s dream ultimately evolves into him believing that he will “win back Daisy
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