The Great Gatsby & the American Dream

4400 words 18 pages
The Great Gatsby and the American Dream
The Great Gatsby is an interesting and thought-provoking novel by the American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald that sets to explore important and complex social themes such as the hollowness of the upper class and the characteristics and decline of the American Dream during the prosperous years preceding the Great Depression. The Great Gatsby is presented at the surface as a thwarted love story between a man, Jay Gatsby, and a woman, Daisy Buchanan. However, the main theme of the novel goes beyond this and comprises a larger, and indeed less romantic, social context. Furthermore, despite the novel's setting in New York during the summer of 1922 it is still a representation of America throughout the whole
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However, the American Dream came to signify material wealth with the growth of consumerism in society in the early years of the 20th century. The American Dream became conceived in terms of success, particularly material success. Getting rich within the shortest amount of time was all that mattered. F. Scott Fitzgerald dwells thus on the decline of the moral value of the American Dream in the context of the growth of consumerism and obsessive pursuit of material wealth in an increasingly capitalist minded society (Kochan 1-2).
The Great Gatsby is not simply a depiction of the Jazz Age, but is also a dramatization of the betrayal of the original and naive American Dream in a corrupt society. This is well highlighted through the stories of the characters. From the beginning, Fitzgerald's dreams of romance contain the "seeds of their own destruction" (Kochan 2). Jay Gatsby pursued wealth and social standing as a result of his feelings for Daisy Buchanan. However, he achieved this goal through participating in criminal activities that include the distribution of illegal alcohol and the trade in stolen securities. From his early years as an adolescent and adult, Gatsby desired to be rich and disliked living in poverty. However, his main motivation behind acquiring wealth is his love for Daisy Buchanan with who he has been in love ever since he met her as a young military officer in Louisville in 1917. Gatsby lied to Daisy


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