Essay on The American Dream in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

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The American Dream in The Great Gatsby

The American Dream is deeply rooted in American ideals. It implies that an individual's determination is the deciding factor in the accumulation of wealth, freedom, and total happiness. It creates an equal ground on which anyone and everyone can attain spiritual and material fulfillment. "Although these ideals can be traced back to the original settlers, perhaps one of the earliest written manifestations of the Dream can be found in Jefferson's Declaration of Independence" (Spindler 41). The Declaration of Independence promises the rights of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" to all American citizens. Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is both a qualification and a
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Initially, he appears to follow in its tradition, the archetypal self-made man. Nick Carraway, newly arrived in West Egg, sees Gatsby's enormous imitation-French mansion with its "marble swimming pool and more than forty acres of lawns and gardens" and assumes he is just another member of the fashionable super-rich. Yet Gatsby is not the "florid and corpulent" man Nick expects. He is young, elegant and charming. Nick has established himself to be a good judge of character, and when he instantly likes and approves of Gatsby, he guides the reader to do the same. Gatsby is something of an enigma at first. Nick cannot understand how such a young man can "drift coolly out of nowhere and buy a palace on Long Island Sound". At this point in the novel, Gatsby is living the American Dream; a self made, wealthy man, he is a shining example of how hard work can lead to material success. Gatsby's mansion also provides the location for his lavish parties. However, when Nick attends one such party he finds Gatsby to be the focus of malicious gossip, suggesting all is not well. Gatsby's true past, or at least a fraction of it, is not revealed until the end of chapter four, and the full story until chapter eight.

"Jay Gatsby" confesses to have been the carefully constructed creation of his seventeen year-old self, James Gatz. Gatsby has demonstrated that it is possible to achieve wealth and success through imagination and determination. The child of
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