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The American Dream Obsession in The Great Gatsby

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The protagonist of Fitzgerald’s tragic novel, The Great Gatsby, is that could not use his millions to buy true happiness. The story of Jay Gatsby is a made up lifestyle in which he spends all of his life living the so called “American Dream”. Gatsby never knew what it meant to have peace of mind or true happiness because he could not experience a good life without fraudulence. Therefore, Gatsby was willing to do anything to get Daisy in his life for good. Ultimately, Gatsby’s obsession to live the “American Dream” overwhelms him before he realizes that his money and luxurious lifestyle cannot buy true happiness.

Jay Gatsby has lived a long hard life growing up and trying to accomplish the American Dream. One thing that Gatsby did go over the top about is the fact that he told an excessive amount of lies and the things he said were beyond what he could control. Gatsby took things out of proportion and the things that he described that happened in the “past” got him into a hole that eventually and he paid the price for it. Generational wealth? Something Gatsby said he absolutely had inherited, but nonetheless he was lying of course. At first he thought lying about his past life, was a good idea but sooner or later it was going to catch up to him. Gatsby never got along with his parents so he decided to leave home and started to try to make a plan to get Daisy back. Gatsby’s family was poor and we’re unsuccessful farm people which is exactly why Gatsby started to lie about his whole life.” Gatsby also insists that he is the son of a wealthy family made up of people in the Middle-West but they are all dead now.” All Gatsby wanted to do was fit in and live a plentiful life with the perfect wife and a life that included no flaws. Once Gatsby got to the point that he told so many lies, the lies started getting obscured. How this whole big lie about money came to be is Gatsby got involved with illegal sales of alcohol and also selling drugs in the city of Chicago. Gatsby was bootlegging and this is the way he made his riches. When Tom and Daisy found out about what Gatsby was doing like throwing big parties and living the luxurious life all of a sudden they were very skeptical because where did he get all this money from. A few years before when Daisy and Gatsby met he was dirt poor and about to serve in World War I. All of a sudden he’s got all this money and from here on it is downhill for him.

Carrying on, When Gatsby first met Tom he knew he was a very rich man. Tom inherited his wealth from past generations, nice cars, big houses, a lavish lifestyle and a dream girl. Just what Gatsby wanted in his life, and he got most of that but Tom eventually caught on to what Gatsby was doing. “It takes Tom, who bothers to investigate Gatsby’s past to reveal him as a liar and a criminal”. When Tom first met Gatsby he knew he was sketchy and something was a little weird with how he acted, his background story, and of course the way he carried himself around others like Daisy. “From Tom’s initial meeting with Gatsby, Tom suspects that like many people with “new money” Gatsby is a bootlegger”. Gatsby did not inherit his money like Tom “My family all died and I came into a good deal of old money”. He wanted to fit in and the only way he would be able to do that is lie. “Gatsby also insists that he is the son of some wealthy people that lived in the Middle West but are all dead now. I was brought up in America and educated at Oxford, all my ancestors have been educated there for many years. It’s a family tradition”. This was the start of the moral decline for Gatsby, he didn’t know his life was slowly coming to an end because of these lies and hoax he made up.

Gatsby deals with a lot of loneliness throughout his whole life. Reason why that is, is because he lived his life with one goal and that goal was to have Daisy as his wife forever. Gatsby started this whole lavish lifestyle for one outcome and that was to impress Daisy so he could marry her and have her in his life. His extravagant parties that he threw were only try to impress Daisy, he never socialized at his own parties and even if he tried no one really knew Gatsby or cared for him and that shows loneliness. Gatsby was there for one reason and one reason only… Daisy. Furthermore, all that time trying to accomplish his lavish lifestyle disappeared once Daisy said goodbye.

To conclude, Gatsby always wanted to achieve the American Dream, but he tried to accomplish that with lies and a fraudulent lifestyle. The amount of time Gatsby dedicated to trying to get Daisy back and the effort he exerted was all eventually a waste in the end. Gatsby claimed he was old money, but he actually made his money bootlegging. Gatsby was rolling in money and he blew it on huge parties to try to impress Daisy and also make it look like he was living the so called American Dream. His wealthy lifestyle is little more than a facade, as is the whole persona of Jay Gatsby. Gatsby has been created from the dreams of a boy named James Gatz that hoped one day he would be a very rich man. The society in which the novel takes place is one of moral decline. As seen from the essay, living life for a quest of cheap thrills and with no moral purpose other than telling lies and faking a lifestyle you don’t actually live will result in a negative way. Gatsby tried to pull off a life of lies and it resulted in him getting murdered by George Wilson. Gatsby gets caught up trying to live the American Dream but he soon realizes that his money and luxurious lifestyle cannot buy true happiness. 

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The American Dream Obsession In The Great Gatsby. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from
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