The Great Gatsby and the Unattainable American Dream

1643 Words7 Pages
Emily Mielcarek
Ms. Lullo
AP English 11
December 18, 2011

The Unattainable American Dream

The Great Gatsby, a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a story of misguided love between a man and a woman. Fitzgerald takes his reader through the turbulence and trials of Jay Gatsby’s life and of his pining for the girl he met five years prior. The main theme of the novel, however, is not solely about the love shared between Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby. The main purpose is to show the decline and decay of the American Dream in the 1920’s. The American Dream is the goal or idea which suggests that all people can succeed through hard work, and that all have the potential to live happy, successful lives. While on the surface, Gatsby
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In The Great Gatsby, the American Dream, is, in fact, unattainable. For Gatsby, his dream is to erase the past five years of his life and to love Daisy again and to have her love him. But, this is impossible for one cannot simply go back in time and change what might have been. Gatsby finds himself working to reach his goal by indulging in ludicrous material goods and contriving a way to make Daisy fall for him. In Tom Buchanan’s case, his dream is to control. He wants for both Daisy and his mistress, Myrtle, to love him and to be fine with an affair. This dream is also unattainable because everyone loses in this situation. In the end, Myrtle is killed, and so is Tom’s destination. For Nick Carraway, he wants to start over. He wants to find himself, run away from rumors and from his family and commence a new life. He gets caught up in the childish antics of Gatsby and Daisy and Tom and loses who he is instead of discovering his true meaning. When all is said and done, Nick packs up and moves back West. It’s clear that F. Scott Fitzgerald is cynical towards the idea of the American Dream and uses The Great Gatsby as his way of expressing his views.

Emily Mielcarek
Ms. Lullo
AP English
December 18th 2011

1. The green light, situated at the end of the Buchanan’s dock, represents Gatsby’s hopes and dreams for the future. Gatsby associates the light with Daisy and in Chapter one, he reaches toward it
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