American Dream in the Great Gatsby Essay

What is the American dream? Is it white picket fences with beautiful green lawns and comfortably large brick houses? According to Dictionary.com the American dream is “the ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination, and initiative”. The American dream is a theme that is often used in American literature just like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. This novel presents the American dream as an illusion that can never be achieved. Daisy,’s personification of the American dream, Daisy’s choice of Tom over Gatsby, Myrtle’s death, and the green light are all representative of the unreliability of the American dream. Daisy is a crucial character who represents the unattainable American dream. When Gatsby unsuccessfully attempts to get Daisy back after five years, this shows how the American dream is unreachable.

Gatsby in love with Daisy five years ago, got the disapproval stamp from Daisy’s parents since he didn’t have “pomp and circumstance”, unlike Tom Buchanan, who did (Fitzgerald 75). As a result, Gatsby tries to fix himself by becoming a financially successful man in a bootlegging business.. Gatsby states that Daisy’s “voice is full of money”, because it reveals that Gatsby has hope to win back Daisy since her and Tom had married (120). The irony in this attribute of Daisy is that Gatsby can become successful and wealthy for her, but cannot have Daisy, his one love and desire. Daisy represents the American dream because there is an excitement in her voice that makes men come running. This makes her desirable, much like the American dream. Also, when Jordan elaborates that Daisy never desired to attain love “yet there’s something in that voice of hers”, she shows how deceiving Daisy’s voice is, like when Jordan is suddenly distracted by Daisy’s voice (77).

This excitement and distraction, which is what Daisy provokes on Gatsby, is his clueless nature caused by the illusion of attaining Daisy, and thus fulfilling his American dream. When Daisy chooses Tom over Gatsby the American dream’s unattainability is shown. When Daisy confesses to Gatsby that she can’t say that she “never loved Tom”, it reveals how Gatsby is unable to truly understand how Daisy actually feels at all (133). Daisy is one way with Gatsby and another with Tom. She wants the best of both worlds, but is unable to achieve this due to her desires of prestige social status.

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Gatsby plans for such a long period of time by buying a house in West Egg right across the bay from her, arranging their secret meeting at Nick’s house, and reinventing himself from James Gatz into the persona of Jay Gatsby. Gatsby nonetheless must give in to failure in his attempt to claim Daisy once again. Likewise, It is physically impossible for all of us to achieve the American dream. This is what Fitzgerald, is trying to relay when Daisy chooses Tom over Gatsby. Tom and Gatsby can’t both have Daisy.

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American Dream in the Great Gatsby Essay

In todayʼs society, it seems that everyone strives to be at the top, and for many people, the top means the most success, and success means money. The American dream- to go from nothing to the pinnacle of success- is apparent both in the novel The Great Gatsby and in the modern world. Another apparent aspect of the American Dream is second chances, Gatsby, along with many other Americans today strives for second chances,

Jay Gatsby seems to be the epitome of a man trying to find the American dream. Gatsby was not always the rich extravagant man who throws luxurious parties that we meet in the beginning of the novel. His motives for rising to the top of the social ladder and acquiring wealth may be different than most peoples motives for achieving the American dream. Gatsbyʼs lust for the American dream came out of his quest to one day finally be with the love of his life, Daisy. This bring up another aspect of the American dream: second chances. More than anything, Jay wants a second chance with Daisy. He “had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again” and that he could get Daisy back.

He does everything in his power to try to achieve this. ! Much of the American dream seems to be materialistic, and Gatsby definitely represents these materialistic parts of the American dream. He has the big house, the nice car, and throws his money around on his extravagant parties. Ultimately though, Gatsby does not achieve the second part of the American dream; second chances. Gatsby is murdered and never gets to spend his life with Daisy which is all he ever really wanted after he got out of the war. Gatsbyʼs “dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him.” Katerina Bessey Monday, December 10, 2012 12:23:31 PM ET

Material wealth definitely still exists in todays society. Many peopleʼs motives for achieving this material wealth is to be accepted by society. This relates to the way that Gatsby wants to achieve material wealth so that Daisy will fall back in love with him. Daisy encompassed everything about wealth even “Her voice is full of money,” which is why Gatsby thought wealth was the only way to her heart.

People often think that material wealth means success which is why it is associated with the American dream. I do not necessarily agree with this, but it is definitely how society perceives it. I think this is especially the way todayʼs youth perceives success they think the material things like nice clothes, cars and houses show how successful a person is. In the setting of The Great Gatsby, the people who have the nice cars and homes are the ones who are perceived as successful. These people may not be the happiest, or have the most morals, but in terms of materialistic things, they are the most successful.

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! Second chances always have been, and I believe always will be associated with the American dream. Gatsby and many of the other characters in the book and looking for second chances in life. People have always associated America with opportunity and second chances at things. Everybody wants to be able to have a second chance at something they fail, or something that doesnʼt go quite as planned. Today, people almost expect to get second chances at things. This seems to be largely due the precedent that was set by the American dream. American itself has been seen as the land of second chances since colonial times. People came here for new opportunities and a second chance at life.

People still come to America today for that very same reason. Christianity today is another example of second chances. It allows people to Katerina Bessey Monday, December 10, 2012 12:23:31 PM ET repent and be fully redeemed and “reborn” allowing people to achieve a new start, or a second chance. Though the American dream has changed slightly since the 1920ʼs, Jay Gatsby portrays many of the aspects of it that are still present today. Mr. Gatsbyʼs lust for material wealth to gain a second chance with the love of his life and journey from “rags to riches” are still part of the American dream for many people in our modern world.

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