The Great Gatsby: An Analysis of the American Dream

The American Dream is an ideal that has been the key motive for many Americans from the beginning of literature. The American Dream has become corrupt through the trajectory of time due to materialistic objects. Normally, the dreamer aspires to obtain riches and leave behind the poverty they are accustomed to but they also dream of non-materialistic things such as love, popularity, and a possession of power through their journey. The dream has differentiated within different time frame, although it is generally based on ideas such as freedom, independence, and an ambition for greatness.

In past times settlers dreamed of journeying out West to discover the land and begin a family of their own, over time it has progressively changed into more materialistic ideals. Now they are in search of large houses, luxurious vehicles, and a lifestyle at ease. Within the past century, the American Dream has focused on acquiring materials to demonstrate that they have accomplished success and accomplishment.

In The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is an individual who has started from the ground up.

His dream started without money, all he had was a plan to attaining his dream. Gatsby can no longer understand that his money has built a wall that stops him from having true love and happiness. The author, Fitzgerald,  demonstrates how dreams can be unattainable once you let wealth and power take over and corrupt your way of living and viewing things. Gatsby’s American Dream has become corrupted due to his influences and their lavish lifestyles, has that changed his morals and the ones of those who surround him? Gatsby is a “nouveau riche,” and his fascination and love for wealth have no longer predisposed him to the egoistic, arrogant, and corrupt individuals that he come to partner with.

Top Writers
Prof Evander
Verified expert
4.8 (654)
Professor Harris
Verified expert
4.9 (457)
Academic Giant
Verified expert
5 (345)
hire verified writer

He puts together lavish events for large amounts of people, but in reality, he has no actual friends.

Gatsby buys luxurious things and entertains a vast amount of people within his economical range due to his inability to express his need for something much more greater than phony acquaintances. Nick Carraway realizes that even though Gatsby is partaking in underhanded business dealings and is infatuated with money, he still continues to be a man of good at heart. When Nick and Gatsby see each other for the last time, he tells him, “They’re a rotten crowd…. You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together” (Fitzgerald 162). Gatsby views life in a very romantic way which might also partly become accountable for his inability to acquire his dreams. Despite the fact that he has made his fortune from untruthful business, his heart is intact from the immoral behavior of the people he relations with. Daisy Buchanan met Gatsby when he was in the military and from that moment forward she became his inspiration. Daisy came from a very wealthy family who disapproved of Gatsby, as he was certainly no match for her in their eyes, due to his lack of money and good background.

Daisy was known as the “Golden Girl”, this is significant because it allows the reader to see that Gatsby actually critiques and realizes her faults despite having so much affection for her. She symbolizes Gatsby’s strives he says, “full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song in it” (Fitzgerald 127). Gatsby was her victim, her mysterious voice was the reason why his obsession to win Daisy over began. Gatsby was simply too late to understand that money is the only thing Daisy’s voice promises. Her lack of empathy is compared to the coldness of coins. Gatsby had such great ideals, despite the fact that Daisy is married and they are having an affair, he continues to believe that as long as she tells her husband that she loves him instead everything will work out his way.

Gatsby’s fascination with the having the golden future, hindrances him from seeing the reality of things. He is clearly stuck five years behind when he knew Daisy as the “Golden Girl”. He is not able to visualize that Daisy portrays the corruption and the materialistic items that money can bring upon an individual. She may seem sweet, but in reality, she is selfish. She demonstrates these characteristics in the way she allows Gatsby to take the fault for her accidental manslaughter of Myrtle Wilson. This in fact stains his morals because he has decided to take the blame of something so serious in order to free Daisy of any troubles. Due to this Gatsby then dies, and she does not demonstrate any remorse or gratefulness for his brave actions. She then partakes in adultery even though she will not leave her husband, she plays with Gatsby’s emotion. When she finds out about his background she goes back to her husband, the man she shares the same lifestyle.

The Buchanans’ dock symbolizes Gatsby’s longing for wealth and power, and it additionally embodies Daisy as an object of Gatsby’s hopes and dreams. Their attention is set on their appearance and things of monetary value, with disregard of the feelings and lives of people. A clear interpretation of the light is that the green signifies money. The green color can also represent jealousy from Gatsby because he wishes to be part of the East Egg society. The fact that the green light may be visible from across the bay, “minute and far away” from Gatsby’s mansion, symbolizes that —Daisy or wealth—is out of his reach, even though he can still see a glimpse of it. Daisy and Tom’s marriage is a representation of the new American Dream in the twentieth century. Regardless of individuals being part of the elitist West Egg social group who are extremely rich, they continue to be unhappy and their morals are not visible throughout their actions. Tom is defined as, “one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterwards savours of anti-climax” (Fitzgerald 11).

Tom and Daisy are not satisfied with their marriage, their life, and they are looking for better things. They have gone to visit France and drifted “here and there unrestfully wherever people were rich and played polo together” (Fitzgerald 11). Tom seems to be attempting to find the pleasure that he discovered in playing football in university, and he finds an outlet for his dissatisfaction by dishonesty on his spouse with Myrtle Wilson. The Buchanan’s marriage consists of lies and infidelities, inclusively, they lack morals and respect for each other and others. When Tom discovers that Daisy’s was unfaithful and Myrtle has been killed, their careless selfishness is exposed when they are reunited. Myrtle and Gatsby are both killed, however, neither one of the Buchanans minds to send regards or seem remorseful whatsoever. Instead, they go on a short vacation, demonstrating the lack of compassion they have for other people. Nick sees Tom and Daisy as they clearly are, heartless and carefree. This is portrayed when “They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made” (Fitzgerald 188), is stated.

The Buchanan’s ways are an illustration of the damaging and emotional numbing results that wealth can have on someone.    Jordan Baker’s plans also are negatively impacted by means of the corruptive characteristics of wealth. Even though Nick is drawn to Jordan’s bored, jaunty, carelessness, in the beginning, he eventually is aware that it conveys her profound disregard for the emotions of people, rather than herself. Jordan is okay with Daisy having an affair, due to the fact that “Daisy ought to have something in her life” (Fitzgerald 85). Additionally, Jordan has a reputation for being a gossip and untruthful, in a golf tournament, there was scandal where she was blamed for moving her golfing ball to her benefit. Jordan belongs to the elitist East Egg social organization due to her careless, cheating methods. She serves as a touch as to the true nature of the people from East Egg. Jordan may also be a demonstration of the sorts of people that Gatsby entertains, considering she attends his events. She is just like a lot of his partygoers in that she uses him for his hospitality but does not clearly demonstrates any actual kindness toward him.

The fact that Gatsby’s house is full of people for the duration of the whole summer, yet when Gatsby dies, no one attends his funeral besides Nick and Gatsby’s father tells plenty about the people who he surrounded himself with. The acquaintances of Gatsby had been by no means his real friends—he was used for his extravagant generosity. The endless folks who attend his events, ride on his hydroplane and in his vehicle, and drink his alcohol are nowhere to be seen when the time comes to pay their respects to him. The only visitor who calls Gatsby’s house is Klipspringer, who lived in Gatsby’s mansion for a time period, he simply calls to inquire about a couple of shoes he has misplaced.    Nick is an ordinary attendee of Gatsby’s events, due to the fact he is the only person who shows compassion for Gatsby. Nick is aware of the reality about Gatsby, his humble background, his untruthful business dealings, and his aspirations for success.

Nonetheless, Nick acknowledges that even though Gatsby has come to be in a world of materialism and corruption, he still remains a great person. Possibly because he and Gatsby, come from the Midwest, they do not really belong to the shallow corporation of East Egg and West Egg. Nick is an objective in the world that surrounds him in Long Island. Nick’s personality is created by beliefs and morals he was taught back at home in the Midwest, his family has also played an important role in the development of his persona. Nick is feeling stressed about War World I and decides to come to the East to distract himself. He soon comes to a realization that the East is majority filled with people who do not care about others and are not looking to make friendships with people out of their social groups. This makes it hard for him to fit in, his character is very straightforward and genuine. Nicks Midwest background gave him the ability to judge the people who surrounded him carefully and with an open mind, and not fall into temptation as many have.

Nick’s American dream built through his experiences and the people he surrounded himself with, which demonstrates a humble way of creating success and primarily focusing on the authentic American dream. Nick represents the alternative route that Gatsby could have taken from the Midwest, away from the wealth and corruption. Gatsby possesses the standards of the Midwest, however, his values have come to be blurred by the bright lights and by Daisy. Even though Nick describes the Ohio River as uninteresting and sprawled, it is clear that Fitzgerald’s novel is an observation of the distortion of the traditional American dream as a result of the East. At the same time as the geographic locations of the East and the Midwest play extensive roles in shaping the novel’s view on values and money, the East Egg, West Egg, and the Valley of Ashes similarly emphasize the socioeconomic disparity among classes. In the social ladder, we see the East Egger, while the inhabitants of the West Eggers cannot seem to reach their social position. This demonstrates what causes the differentiation between “old money” and “new money”, this is partially why Gatsby is not successful in making his dream his reality. He is capable of seeing the green area that he has not experienced yet, this reinforces the thought that corruption revolves around the rich. Tom is unfaithful when he is at the “Valley of Ashes”, it is also the place were Daisy killed Myrtle.

This novel appears to be a representation of Fitzgerald’s experience with luxury, music, and parties back in the twentieth century.    After reading The Great Gatsby it is clear that the 1920’s society is being critiqued based on their corruption and the loss of morals. It demonstrates the reality of what effects materialistic things can bring upon an individual’s life. The people who do not have much hope to have more, however, throughout the story we see the discontent within the lives of people with wealth and are placed somewhere high in societies ladder. Those who are considered more than others in the novel portray characteristics such as a lack of enthusiasm and morals. An example is when the Buchanans drift from one place to the next, without a steady plan or any aspirations to meet a goal that has been brought to her attention.  Jordan Baker consistently carries a serious look on her face, she seems offly bored and just uninterested. These people represent the “haves,” but Fitzgerald makes the reader ask themselves if the materials they possess are really worth it.

Gatsby has worked his whole life to fit in with that specific exclusive group, but it is obvious through the course of the novel that he never will belong because of his lack of reputation. It should also come to light that Gatsby’s ideals of romance no longer fit in with the “haves” group; regardless of how hard he tries to reach the top of the social ladder, his ideas will not allow him to fit in. Overall, people who have the social and financial stability to obtain their goals cannot seem to find the motivation within themselves to actually reach for it. The people who are in the higher social class come between the social group of East Egg and West Egg, they represent the corruption and loss of morals that materialism can bring upon an individual. Gatsby has acquired to surround himself with materialism, however, he continues to be discontent, these materialistic objects come between his hopes for success. Gatsby’s obsession for wealth and Daisy slowly begin to take over his true self, he loses his morals and the belief of what a true family is.

The dreams that were once there become a nightmare and results in his downfall. The romantic ideals he had blind him from the real corrupt world that he wants to be a part of.  Gatsby’s lives around the people who demonstrate the unhappiness that “success” can bring to an individual. Gatsby is unable to realize that wealth, power, and luxury cannot bring him true love and profound blissfulness. Fitzgerald successfully gives the reader an effective critique of a society that mainly focuses on materials and the way it can impact one’s hopes, morals, and dreams of living the true American Dream.

Cite this page

The Great Gatsby: An Analysis of the American Dream. (2021, Apr 23). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/the-great-gatsby-an-analysis-of-the-american-dream-essay

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
HELP ME WITH WRITING
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7