How Has Gatsby Achieved The American Dream?

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Words: 651 |

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4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 651|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

The concept of the American Dream has been a fundamental part of American society for centuries. It embodies the belief that anyone, regardless of their social background, can achieve success and prosperity through hard work and determination. F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, explores this theme through the character of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire who epitomizes the pursuit of the American Dream. In what way has Gatsby achieved the American Dream? By examining various aspects of Gatsby's life, including his wealth, social status, and pursuit of love, we can gain insight into how he has attained this elusive dream.

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Gatsby's immense wealth is a key indicator of his achievement of the American Dream. He is often portrayed as a symbol of new money, having acquired his fortune through dubious means. However, his financial success allows him to live a life of luxury and extravagance, which is a central aspect of the American Dream. According to James Truslow Adams, who popularized the term "American Dream" in 1931, wealth is one of the defining factors of achieving this dream. Gatsby's opulent mansion, his fleet of cars, and his extravagant parties all exemplify the material wealth that is often associated with the American Dream.

Furthermore, Gatsby's ability to amass such wealth demonstrates the meritocratic nature of the American Dream. Despite his humble beginnings and lack of social connections, Gatsby manages to rise through the ranks of society solely through his hard work and entrepreneurial skills. This challenges the notion that success is predetermined by one's social background, emphasizing instead that anyone can achieve the American Dream through sheer determination and perseverance.

Another way in which Gatsby achieves the American Dream is through his attainment of high social status. The novel portrays Gatsby as a figure of fascination and intrigue, with his luxurious parties attracting the crème de la crème of New York society. Gatsby's ability to infiltrate the upper echelons of society, despite his questionable past, is a testament to the fluidity of social mobility in America.

In his essay "The American Dream and the American Negro," James Baldwin argues that the American Dream is an illusion for marginalized groups, particularly African Americans. However, Gatsby's success in transcending his working-class roots challenges this notion. He is able to adopt the manners and behaviors of the upper class, effectively disguising his true identity. This underscores the idea that, in America, one can reinvent themselves and overcome societal barriers to achieve their dreams.

Love and companionship are often seen as integral components of the American Dream, and Gatsby's relentless pursuit of Daisy Buchanan exemplifies this. Gatsby's infatuation with Daisy drives him to accumulate wealth and social status, as he believes these are the prerequisites to winning her back. He sees Daisy as the embodiment of his American Dream, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to attain her love.

However, Gatsby's pursuit of love also highlights the darker side of the American Dream. His obsession with Daisy blinds him to the reality of their relationship and prevents him from finding true happiness. Despite all his material success, Gatsby ultimately fails to achieve lasting love, suggesting that the American Dream may be an elusive and unattainable ideal.

In conclusion, Jay Gatsby has achieved the American Dream in various ways. His immense wealth, social status, and pursuit of love all contribute to his embodiment of this ideal. Through his story, we gain insights into the possibilities and limitations of the American Dream. Gatsby's journey exemplifies the opportunities that America offers for upward mobility and success, but it also exposes the potential pitfalls and sacrifices that individuals may encounter along the way. Ultimately, Gatsby's achievement of the American Dream serves as a reminder that the pursuit of material wealth and social status should not overshadow the pursuit of genuine happiness and fulfillment.


Adams, James Truslow. "The Epic of America." 1931.

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Baldwin, James. "The American Dream and the American Negro." The New York Times, 1965.

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How Has Gatsby Achieved the American Dream? (2024, Jun 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 20, 2024, from
“How Has Gatsby Achieved the American Dream?” GradesFixer, 13 Jun. 2024,
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How Has Gatsby Achieved the American Dream? [Internet] GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 13 [cited 2024 Jul 20]. Available from:
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