Everything: F. Scott Fitzgerald and American Dream Essay

Submitted By dillon4957
Words: 1109
Pages: 5

A true icon of its time, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald explores the true meanings of several interesting and in-depth topics, perhaps the most controversial being that of the American dream. In being one of the main themes of the Great Gatsby, the American dream is described as it exists in a corrupt period of history, the 1920’s, often noted as the, “Roaring 20’s.” As it is described in the novel, the American dream is known as one’s only desire for money and materialism. Moreover, let’s think to this period of time and how humans of today perceive the American dream. Humans of today’s world often struggle to find what they truly enjoy as an individual. For those who do so, they have yet to realize that once that dream is achieved and fully obtained by the individual, that is when the meaning of life has a chance to emerge and take its toll. So, in the perception of today’s humans, the American dream has fully taken its toll when the basic enjoyments of life have emerged; freedom, liberty, and happiness itself.
The American dream, as being one of the most controversial topics of the Great Gatsby, is conveyed through several literary devices, perhaps one of the most commonly used being imagery. There are several images that are conveyed in this novel. In fact, the book begins with a very significant image, the green light at the end of the dock. To Gatsby, the green light represents his dream, which is Daisy, the girl he has always dreamed of. If Gatsby were to attain Daisy, it would fully complete Gatsby’s American Dream. The first time the green light is seen in the novel is also the first time Nick Carraway, the narrator of the novel, sees Gatsby. Fitzgerald writes, “…he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward – and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away…” (Gatsby, Page 20). The green light is described as ‘minute and far away’ which makes it appear as nearly impossible to reach, which will prove to be true for Gatsby in the end. The green light also represents society’s desire and the seeming impossibility of achieving the American Dream of materialism. Further into the novel, it is revealed that Gatsby’s desire for Daisy, also represents his desire for the past. Five years ago, when Gatsby first meets Daisy and they fall in love, Daisy was the true representation of status and wealth. She was desired by all young men at the time and for Gatsby to attain her, meant that he was the most worthy of her divine love. Overall, Daisy is often described as the representation of what Gatsby ultimately yearned for. In the end, if Gatsby did indeed accomplish his dream, Daisy, to Gatsby, would be a token of his success. As we progress through the novel, Fitzgerald makes clear the impossibility of achieving happiness through the American Dream, which as said before is a truth that Gatsby will soon find for himself. This is all demonstrated through several literary devices and motifs as well.
Much like imagery, The Great Gatsby has many uses of symbolism which presents a thing that represents both itself and something else. Fitzgerald made many things in The Great Gatsby highly symbolic to try and better convey his themes. Through the use of symbolism, Fitzgerald makes evident that there is absolutely no possibility of achieving happiness through the American Dream. Perhaps one of the most prominent symbols used in The Great Gatsby, is the Valley of Ashes, which essentially represents the opposite of the American dream. This prominent symbol represents absolute poverty and hopelessness. “This is a valley of ashes – a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens; where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and, finally, ash-grey men move dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air. Occasionally a line…