The dream has had variations throughout different time periods , although it is generally based on ideas of freedom, self - reliance , and a desire for something greater . The early s e t t l e r s ’ dream of t rave ling out West to find land and s tar t a family has gradually transformed into a materialistic vi sion of having a big house , a ni c e car , and a l i f e of eas e . In the pas t c entury, the Ame r i can dr eam has increasingly focused on mater ial i tems as an indi cat ion of attain ing success .
In The Great Gat sby, Jay Gat sby is a self - made man who started out w ith no money—only a plan for achieving his dream. He is so blinded by his luxu rious possessions that he doe s not s e e that money cannot buy love or happiness . Fitzgerald demonstrates how a dream c an become corrupted by one’s focus on acquiring wealth, powe r , and expensive things. His American dream has be come corrupted by the cultur e of wealth and opulenc e that su r rounds him. his romant i c vi e w of wealth has not prepared him for the s e lf - inte re s te d, snobbi s h, cor rupt group of pe opl e wi th wh i c h he c omes to as s oc iat e . He throws lavish par ti e s for count le s s people, yet he has no real friends. Gatsby buys expensive things and ent e r tains large groups of soc ie ty be caus e of his incommuni cabl e de s i r e for s ome thing gr eat e r . Ni ck Car raway r eal ize s that