The American Dream in The Great Gatsby and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

1918 Words8 Pages
One of the greatest classic novels in American history, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, lends itself to be an indispensible literary work that reinforces and challenges the core values and ideals that Benjamin Franklin expresses in his Autobiography. In the provided passage, the young Franklin arrives in Philadelphia in hopes of becoming a new self-made man and begins his journey with little money and few resources much like Gatsby. After arriving by boat, he tries to pay the people of the boat for his voyage but his payment is initially refused because he rowed the boat in order to get to Philadelphia. Franklin insists that they take his payment and says “A man is sometimes more generous when he has but a little money than when…show more content…
The hero of The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby, also pursues the American Dream of becoming a self-made man like Franklin and models his actions after Franklin. Although Gatsby emulates Franklin’s attention to money, Gatsby ultimately fails in fulfilling his American Dream because his expectations can never satisfy his desires and the society he aspires to join is selfish.
Jay Gatsby and Benjamin Franklin share the view that one’s affluence and one’s display of it are the measures of one’s success in achieving his goal. If one truly has the money required to be affluent, there will be no need to display that wealth because others will inherently know that one is rich. In fear of being thought to be poor, Gatsby and Franklin both try to exhibit whatever amount of money they may have even if they do not posses the wealth they truly desire. Franklin searches for items of monetary value in order to accumulate the resources necessary to make a reputation for his name, while Gatsby seeks to acquire the “old wealth” of East Egg in order to win the heart of his loved one, Daisy. The description of Gatsby’s personal library reveals that he only throws elaborate parties in order to prove to Daisy that he has acquired the money necessary to support a relationship with her, when in reality he can never achieve that status. During Nick’s first visit to Gatsby’s mansion for one of his lavish parties,

More about The American Dream in The Great Gatsby and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Get Access