February 17 2015
American Dream and Us
As per the Declaration of Independence, “All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. The Declaration of Independence encourages others to believe in the
American Dream; A dream that consists of having hope for a better and successful future. During the Western Expansion, the American Dream was to seek for opportunities and by the 1920’s it became riches and a luxurious lifestyle, which led to materialistic attitude. A portrayal of this can be seen in the
The Great Gatsby
, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The Great Gatsby takes place in the
after the end of World War 1; Americans who had fought the war potentially wanted to become famous and rich. T he stock market was booming and it was possible for any person with any social background to become rich. Alcohol had been banned and it started an uproar in illegal activity. Many started bootlegging and became wealthy. There has been many literary critics that disagree with Fitzgerald’s theme in
The Great Gatsby .Although, some believe that he portrayed the “The American Dream” through his characters. Fitzgerald does represent the
American Dream, as it is seen when Myrtle flirts with Tom , Daisy and Tom’s careless attitude,
Nick’s desire and through Gatsby’s hope.
To illustrate, Nick Carraway was from the Middle West and he studied at Yale
University. In the
The Great Gatsby
, he says that “ The Carraways are something of clan, and we
have a tradition that we’re descended from the Dukes of Buccleuch, but the actual founder of my line was my grandfather’s brother, who came here in fiftyone, sent a substitute to the civil war, and started the wholesale hardware business that my father care today.” (Fitzgerald 3). Nick’s grandfather’s brother started a wholesale hardware business and it is still being runned by his family members. His family descends from the Dukes of Buccleuch, and it is a family tradition to go there. Here Nick is creating an illusion that his family is noble. It can be finalized that
Nick has an American Dream of being wealthy through hard work. He was an ordinary man and then the War had been declared, he was drafted for the war in 1917 and was sent to France. After he came back from the war he had a desire to become famous. That’s when he decided to move to New York to learn the bond business. Nick has a lot of determination and respect for himself, for he always said “ I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known” ( Fitzgerald 49).
Nick strived for wealth and moved to New York to learn about the bond business, but more so he wanted to be honest and he sought for a reputable status in society. From this it can be concluded that his dream was to see himself as a truthful, tolerable, and a reliable man. Nick’s character conveys to us that Fitzgerald’s intention was to prove that the “ “American Dream” was created to describe not America’s success stories, but its failures” (Churchwell 1). This is definitely true and it can be seen through Nick’s actions. At first, he wants to be rich and moves to the West
Egg. Then he realizes that riches can not buy happiness which then leads him to change his dream to being the most honest person. To correct his failure in wealth, he moves back to the
Midwest where the true value of humanity is still alive.
Furthermore, East Egg , where Daisy and Tom are located, is where people with “old money” live. East Eggers are usually visualized to have wealth, dignity, and manners. They did
have a courteous reputation in the society, and it was because of the era. Money was more valuable than being honest, helpful, and respectful. Tom and Daisy were “careless people…they smashed up things and creatures and then