The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

1646 Words Dec 9th, 2015 7 Pages
The 1920s witnessed the death of the American Dream, a message immortalized in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Initially, the American Dream represented the outcome of American ideals, that everyone has the freedom and opportunity to achieve their dreams provided they perform honest hard work. During the 1920s, the United States experienced massive economic prosperity making the American Dream seem alive and strong. However, in Fitzgerald’s eyes, the new American culture build around that massive prosperity corrupted and destroyed the American Dream in a time of great indulgence due to great prosperity. To that extent, The Great Gatsby employs setting and character development to define the American Dream, condemn its bastardization, and depict its demise during the Jazz Age.
Through Gatsby, Fitzgerald both defines the American Dream and depicts its corruption. Gatsby started out as James Gatz, a “penniless young man without a past” (Fitzgerald, 149). He grew up extremely poor, having to work various jobs, some degrading and humiliating, in order to survive. However, in the true spirit of the American Dream, he used the opportunities presented to him to make himself a rich man. Through bootlegging, Gatsby earned a fortune that allowed him a “mansion” (5), a “yellow” “Rolls-Royce,” and extravagant parties (39). However, despite depicting Gatsby as a truer form of the American Dream, Fitzgerald still depicts the corruption behind his version. Gatsby’s fortune…
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