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

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The Dream and The Great Gatsby

The story of America is an exciting one, filled with swift evolution and an amazing energy unprecedented in world history. In America's short existence, it has progressed from a small collection of European rebels to the economically dominant nation that it is today. Mixed up in the provocative reputation of America is the celebrated ideal of the American Dream, the fantasy of complete independence and self-reliance mixed with the opportunity to attain wealth through one's labors. On the surface, this reverie seems almost enchanted, offering people the unprecedented prospect of achieving success regardless of one's race, religion, or family history. The American Dream is exactly what it appears to
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He is surrounded by wealth, coming from a "prominent, well-to-do" family and living within the "consoling proximity of millionaires" (7, 10). Besides this prominent admiration of money, Nick is also impressed with the American quality of independence, conceding that "almost any exhibition of complete self sufficiency draws a stunned tribute" from him (13). These first few confessions illustrate the atmosphere of the entire novel, an environment in which extravagance was popular and social goals were aimed at achieving wealth and mastering one's identity.

It is clear that in the beginning, Nick is aware of the presence of the American Dream, or at least the presence of intense ambition in his friends and family. While Nick initially seems to be inexperienced with the idea of the Dream, Gatsby is an expert. Having been born to a poor agrarian household, Gatsby successfully escaped poverty and the fate of his parents. Without any noticeably extraordinary abilities, Gatsby was able to acquire millions of dollars and achieve widespread fame in the matter of a few years. Along with the riches came the opportunity for a reinvention of his identity, which he voraciously exploited; "the truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself" (104).

The financial success of
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