The American Dream In The Great Gatsby Analysis

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For generations, many have immigrated to this great nation known as the United States of America, all seeking for their share of the American Dream. The American Dream is the philosophy that anyone can become successful through hard work and perseverance. The 1920’s embodies this concept like no other decade in American history. It is also during this time frame that one sees the perversion of this dream. F. Scott Fitzgerald suggests in his novel, The Great Gatsby, that there is a right and wrong way to obtain the American Dream. Throughout the novel, Gatsby is symbolic for the materialistic nature of the American Dream and its immoral corruption in the 20th century. An excellent example of the American Dream and its rags-to-riches concept is that of Jay Gatsby. Jay Gatsby, legally known as James Gatz, grows up on a farm in North Dakota, rather than into wealth in San Francisco, as he claims in the novel. Gatsby’s dream of being wealthy flourishes when he meets Dan Cody, a wealthy copper mogul. Gatsby starts out as a poor farm boy and transforms into a wealthy sophisticated man. Gatsby’s rags-to-riches success story makes him the embodiment of the American Dream (Murphy 1). From humble farm boy to lavish party host, Gatsby achieves this goal in a matter of a few short years, even though he comes back from the war penniless (1). Gatsby works very hard to pursue his dream of wealth and success when he discovers he cannot inherit money Dan Cody left him after he died. Gatsby starts living like the Wilsons and ends up living like the Buchanans (Voegeli 3). Gatsby gets rich out of a “sense of urgency, desperation and crazy hopefulness” (3). Even though Gatsby later turns to crime to inherit his fortune, he still obtains his wealth. Since Gatsby is willing to risk his freedom and reputation to obtain prosperity, it is Fitzgerald’s way to show how valuable wealth is to the American dream. With wealth comes the materialistic view of life. Gatsby’s lifestyle and surroundings definitely represent the material aspects of life. The paradox between the two Eggs (the rich) and the Valley of Ashes (the poor) also suggests this idea. When the narrator, Nick Carraway, is describing Gatsby’s extravagant lifestyle
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