The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

Submitted By cmurph915x
Words: 1326
Pages: 6

The American Dream in The Great Gatsby In the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Gatsby, there is a central theme that the American dream has been destroyed by an emphasis on materialism. This is shown through the themes of fabrication of self, attitudes toward women, and the destruction of the American dream. The characters that symbolize this central theme are Gatsby and Daisy. These two characters show the downfall of the American Dream. There are also symbols to support the downfall; cars, money and the colors green and white. The ranking of aristocracy also has to do with the destruction of the American Dream, the importance of who you are and where you’re from. The combination of these characters, themes, and symbols come together to destroy the American dream.
Two characters that show the destruction of the American dream through materialism are Daisy and Gatsby; these two characters are the epitome of the destruction. These two characters are the most described in the novel. Both characters are starving for attention and all the fame and wealth that come with it. For example, the only reason Daisy is attracted to Gatsby is because of his money, shown in this statement from Daisy to Gatsby “That huge place over there? Do you like it? I love it" (Fitzgerald95). This shows that Daisy is just using Gatsby for his money and social status because that’s all that she cares about. Also, The Great Gatsby is an exploration of the American dream as it exists in a corrupt period, and it is an attempt to determine that concealed boundary that divides the reality from the illusions. The illusions seem more real than the reality itself. (Bewly) This shows that people during this time period were blinded by money and didn’t see the reality of what life really was. The ranking in aristocracy shows all that people care about is money and where it came from. During the 1920’s America’s economy was thriving, and the aristocracy kept on getting richer, which motivates Daisy throughout the whole novel. For example, "Her voice is full of money," he said suddenly. That was it. I’d never understood before. It was full of money – that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it… high in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl (Fitzgerald126). Gatsby feels unable to say anything in the Buchanan’s house because of the fact that money plays such a big factor. Even though Gatsby is wealthy, he is considered new money, not as good compared to the Buchanans. This novel also describes the gap between the rich and the poor Gatsby and the Wilsons, West Egg and the Valley of the Ashes by comparing the differences between the Western United States (traditional western culture and the Eastern United States money obsessed values. (Bewly) This shows how people’s views of the western part of the United States and how it is different than the east coast. For example, Gatsby is from the western part of the country, he is not respected by anyone on the east coast because he is “new money”. Gatsby is not aware of this and therefore is used by Daisy. Money is the motivation in The Great Gatsby. The main character Gatsby is shown throughout the hole novel dealing with his money and trying to please others with it. Even though the people he is trying to please are just using him. Also, in the novel it never directly says what his profession is or how he got his money but one could assume that it wasn’t legal. For example, "Meyer Wolfsheim? No, he’s a gambler." Gatsby hesitated, then added coolly: "He’s the man who fixed the World’s Series back in 1919." (Fitzgereld43) This is showing that Gatsby deals with some vague characters that partake in illegal actions, also shows he will try to make money at all costs even though it may be illegal. Gatsby’s unhealthy obsession of money is shown. Fitzgerald perfectly understood the inadequacy of