Broken Dreams and Fallen Themes: the Corruption of the American Dream in the Great Gatsby Essay

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Broken Dreams and Fallen Themes
In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald employs the use of characters, themes, and symbolism to convey the idea of the American Dream and its corruption through the aspects of wealth, family, and status. In regards to wealth and success, Fitzgerald makes clear the growing corruption of the American Dream by using Gatsby himself as a symbol for the corrupted dream throughout the text. In addition, when portraying the family the characters in Great Gatsby are used to expose the corruption growing in the family system present in the novel. Finally, the American longing for status as a citizen is gravely overshot when Gatsby surrounds his life with walls of lies in order to fulfill his desires for an impure dream.
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The fact that his car is yellow instead of the uniform black of the period stresses the idea that he is absorbed with the preoccupation of displaying his material wealth.
At a time when the car is just beginning to become available to the generality, Gatsby's car symbolizes materialism and the show of delight in material possessions to gain the acceptance of Daisy, the object of his long quest, presents the unwholesome root of his desires.
Status reflects another important part of the American Dream that Fitzgerald critiques; the ability to cast a vote, or to be thought well of in the community exemplifies this trait. The author reveals the opinions of other characters about Gatsby to show the differing ideas surrounding Gatsby's status and whether or not it has any value. For instance, when Nick Caraway, the narrator, introduces the readers to Jay Gatsby, he give contrasting opinions of the man. "Gatsby, who represented everything for which I have unaffected scornÂ…. Gatsby turned out all right in the end."(Fitzgerald 6) though Nick can hold sympathy for Gatsby as a "good" person and as a dreamer, the man ends up representing a picture of corruption. Furthermore, Lewis sights instances with varying characters discussing Gatsby's reputation. "Gatsby has shifting identities according to which party guest one listens to, but most of the identitiesÂ… have something of the unreal or fantastic