The American Dream as portrayed in "Great Gatsby", by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Topics: The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, United States Pages: 2 (558 words) Published: April 29, 2006
The American dream is interwoven and deeply embedded in every fabric of American life. It has also been the focal point of many novels in American literature. This dream, as seen in "The Great Gatsby", is associated with rugged individualism, generous enthusiasm and idealism in the pursuit of success. Dating back to our puritan heritage, the idea that hard work, following the rules, and "being good" has attracted many immigrants to our shores... but for what?

Gatsby is the perfect example of the American desire to better oneself. He is a self-made man who earned his fortune the same way as Andrew Carnegie and others. Americans, like Gatsby, can become anything they want through their own industriesness. This opportunity is unique to America because it is the only country on earth where such "rags to riches" stories are possible.

Gatsby represents what is best about America. He is free to represent himself, and holds his own opinions. Gatsby, unlike the snobbish and exclusive upper class, invites everyone to his parties. His parties, as well as his character represent what is best about America. Gatsby's personal character is also an embodiment of the American Dream itself; he has a capacity for hope, love, and optimism.

However, despite the fact that Gatsby displays good qualities, they too have materialistic motives. Gatsby is later revealed to have amassed his fortune through unscrupulous business practices, and Gatsby's legendary parties, too, had underhanded intentions. How then, Fitzgerald asks, could the epitome of the American Dream fail?

The answer is, unfortunately, that the American Dream is destined for failure. As the novel unfolds, Fitzgerald describes the roller coaster ride of Gatsby's life, the very telling of which causes innocent Nick Calloway to grow and mature at an exponential rate. Fitzgerald portrays the American Dream as strictly an illusion, something that no one, not even Gatsby, can achieve. The negative sides of Gatsby's...
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