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The Great Gatsby: a Study of The American Dream and Its Corruption

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Human-Written

Words: 644 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jan 30, 2024

Words: 644|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jan 30, 2024

Table of contents

  1. The American Dream and its portrayal in The Great Gatsby
  2. The allure of the American Dream
  3. The corruption of the American Dream
  4. The contrast between the corrupted dream and the true values of life
  5. Fitzgerald's criticism of the American Dream
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby, delves into the concept of the American Dream and its portrayal in 1920s America. The American Dream, a central theme in American literature, represents the ideal that every individual has the opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work and determination. However, The Great Gatsby exposes the allure and subsequent corruption of this dream, demonstrating how excessive wealth and materialism overshadow the true values of life.

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The American Dream and its portrayal in The Great Gatsby

The American Dream, rooted in the historical context of post-World War I America, embodies the belief in the possibility of upward social mobility and the attainment of a better life. In The Great Gatsby, various characters pursue this dream in different ways. Jay Gatsby, the enigmatic protagonist, seeks wealth and success to win over his love interest, Daisy Buchanan. Similarly, Tom and Daisy Buchanan value social class and material possessions, using them to maintain their privileged lifestyle. Myrtle Wilson, on the other hand, dreams of escaping her working-class life through a relationship with Tom Buchanan.

The allure of the American Dream

Wealth and materialism play a significant role in luring characters into the pursuit of the American Dream. Gatsby's extravagant parties, characterized by opulence and excess, serve as a symbol of his quest for wealth and status. Additionally, characters in the novel are often described and perceived based on their possessions, highlighting the allure of material wealth. The superficial nature of relationships and social interactions further emphasizes the allure of the American Dream as characters engage in empty and insincere interactions for personal gain.

The corruption of the American Dream

While the pursuit of the American Dream promises success and prosperity, The Great Gatsby exposes the negative consequences of such pursuits. Characters engage in unethical and criminal activities to achieve their dreams, leading to moral decay and emptiness in their lives. The novel portrays the disillusionment and lack of fulfillment that result from the corrupt version of the dream, highlighting the detrimental impact of excessive wealth and materialism on individuals and society.

The contrast between the corrupted dream and the true values of life

Amidst the allure and corruption of the American Dream, several characters in The Great Gatsby resist its pull. Nick Carraway, the novel's narrator, comes to realize the emptiness of the wealthy lifestyle as he becomes disillusioned with the characters and their pursuits. George Wilson, Myrtle's husband, rejects materialism and instead emphasizes love and genuine relationships, representing a contrast to the corrupted dream. The symbolism of the green light, which represents Gatsby's unreachable dream, further illustrates the stark contrast between the corrupted dream and the true values of life.

Fitzgerald's criticism of the American Dream

Fitzgerald uses The Great Gatsby as a platform to criticize the corrupted American Dream and convey a message to society. Through the novel, he highlights the emptiness and moral decay that result from the relentless pursuit of wealth and material success. His criticism of the American Dream serves as a cautionary tale, urging readers to reflect on the consequences of excessive materialism and the importance of prioritizing true values in life.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, The Great Gatsby delves into the allure and corruption of the American Dream, demonstrating how excessive wealth and materialism overshadow the true values of life. By critiquing the pursuits of characters in the novel and contrasting them with those who resist the allure of the dream, Fitzgerald emphasizes the importance of understanding the corrupt nature of the American Dream. The novel serves as a reflection of the relevance of these themes in contemporary society, prompting readers to reconsider the implications of the relentless pursuit of material success.

References

  1. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Scribner, 1925.
  2. Bloom, Harold. F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Infobase Publishing, 2010.
  3. Callahan, John F. F. Scott Fitzgerald's Evolving American Dream: The "Pursuit of Happiness" in Gatsby, Tender is the Night, and The Last Tycoon. Edwin Mellen Press, 2006.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

The Great Gatsby: A Study of the American Dream and Its Corruption. (2024, January 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-a-study-of-the-american-dream-and-its-corruption/
“The Great Gatsby: A Study of the American Dream and Its Corruption.” GradesFixer, 30 Jan. 2024, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-a-study-of-the-american-dream-and-its-corruption/
The Great Gatsby: A Study of the American Dream and Its Corruption. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-a-study-of-the-american-dream-and-its-corruption/> [Accessed 14 Apr. 2024].
The Great Gatsby: A Study of the American Dream and Its Corruption [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 30 [cited 2024 Apr 14]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-great-gatsby-a-study-of-the-american-dream-and-its-corruption/
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