The American Dream : The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

856 WordsMay 1, 20164 Pages
The Tainted American Dream America is known as the land of the free; where opportunity and prosperity are around every corner. Merriam-Webster’s definition of American Dream is “a happy way of living that is thought of by many Americans as something that can be achieved by anyone in the U.S. especially by working hard and becoming successful.” Anyone, regardless of circumstance or socioeconomic status, with enough hard work and determination can achieve the American Dream. The Great Gatsby can be portrayed as a critique of excessive materialism in America during the 1920s. Fitzgerald continues to portray this time as an era of the degeneration of moral values and the skewed idea of the American dream. The downfall of the American society, as well as the American Dream, can be seen in the novel’s main characters: Jay Gatsby and Daisy and Tom Buchanan. This American dream was originally centered around the pursuit of happiness, but during this time was contaminated by greed and corruption. This symbolism is seen in the description of The Valley of Ashes, which is said to be located “halfway between West Egg and New York” (26). The Valley is quite different from the loud, lavish and fascinating New York City. Tom paints us a picture by describing it as “a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens,” where the “ashes take the form of houses and chimneys and rising smoke” (26). It is inhabited by the poor, working class who are
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