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Analysis of The American Dream in The Great Gatsby

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Words: 532 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Words: 532|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 8, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The Great Gatsby and the American Dream
  2. What is the American Dream?
  3. Gatsby's Story and the American Dream
  4. The Tragic Fate of Gatsby
  5. Failure of Other Characters to Achieve the American Dream
  6. Conclusion

The Great Gatsby and the American Dream

The Great Gatsby is often regarded as the quintessential representation of the American Dream. The novel, set in the roaring twenties, portrays the life of Jay Gatsby, a man who rises from humble beginnings to become a wealthy and powerful figure. However, although Gatsby seems to embody the American Dream, a closer analysis reveals that his rags-to-riches story is not really a fulfillment of the American Dream, but rather a commentary on its failure.

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What is the American Dream?

Firstly, it is important to understand what it means to achieve the American Dream. The American Dream is the idea that anyone, regardless of their social standing, can achieve success through hard work, determination, and individualism. Essentially, it is the belief in the possibility of upward social mobility and the chance to live a better life than one's parents. Gatsby appears to embody this dream because he has worked hard and pulled himself up by his own bootstraps to become a wealthy and powerful figure in society.

Gatsby's Story and the American Dream

However, upon closer inspection, Gatsby's story is not a true fulfillment of the American Dream. He has not achieved success through hard work and determination alone, but rather through illegal and unethical means. Gatsby's wealth is acquired through his involvement in bootlegging and other criminal activities. Additionally, Gatsby's obsession with the past and his fixation on winning back Daisy reveal a flaw in the American Dream: the idea that success and happiness can be obtained through the acquisition of material goods and the pursuit of superficial pleasures.

The Tragic Fate of Gatsby

Moreover, Gatsby's tragic fate highlights the shortcomings of the American Dream. Despite his tremendous success, Gatsby is unable to attain the one thing he truly desires: love. His attempts to win back Daisy are futile, and he ultimately dies alone and unfulfilled. This tragic ending reveals the emptiness of the American Dream, which promises happiness and fulfillment through material gain but fails to deliver on these promises.

Failure of Other Characters to Achieve the American Dream

Furthermore, the characters in The Great Gatsby are all chasing the American Dream in their own ways, but none of them seem to achieve it. Tom, Daisy's husband, appears to have achieved the American Dream through his wealth and social status, but he is dissatisfied and unhappy. Myrtle, Tom's mistress, pursues the American Dream by trying to gain wealth and status through her relationship with Tom, but her attempts end in tragedy. Even Jordan Baker, a successful golfer and socialite, is disillusioned by the emptiness of her life. Thus, the failure of these characters to achieve the American Dream highlights the idea that it is an unattainable ideal.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, The Great Gatsby is a critique of the American Dream. Although Gatsby appears to embody the ideals of the American Dream, his story ultimately exposes its flaws and limitations. Gatsby's tragic fate highlights the emptiness of the pursuit of material wealth, while the failure of the other characters in the novel to achieve the American Dream suggests that it is an unattainable ideal. Therefore, while the American Dream may be a powerful ideal, Fitzgerald's novel suggests that it is ultimately a hollow and unfulfilling promise.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Analysis of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby. (2024, March 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-the-american-dream-in-the-great-gatsby/
“Analysis of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby.” GradesFixer, 07 Mar. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-the-american-dream-in-the-great-gatsby/
Analysis of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-the-american-dream-in-the-great-gatsby/> [Accessed 15 Jul. 2024].
Analysis of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 07 [cited 2024 Jul 15]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-the-american-dream-in-the-great-gatsby/
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