The Great Gatsby And American Dream Influence

The famed American Dream, the idea that anyone can flourish in a place where progressive growth is reachable for anyone, whether you’re born into it or starting from the bottom. This principle can be reached by simply working hard. Is this entirely true though? We have to remember the term “Dream” is literally what it means a dream. This coined phrase ideas haven’t really worked well in the lives of many Americans and those who ventured far and wide to achieve this idea. The truth is this theory is as old and falls short of what it really means. Accreted writers Zamira Hodo and Rodger Pearson are both vouched for backers who agree that Americans kid themselves into thinking that if you worked hard you can climb the ladder and have everything. Francis Fitzgerald wrote a book titled The Great Gatsby which basically depicts The American Dream ultimately being unattainable through different people interpretation of The American Dream. Fitzgerald does a great job showing that many of us have different interpretations of chasing this idea, or just gaining success in general, he does this by taking us through the main characters journeys of trying to navigate or better establish their place on the ladder. Through the lives of three characters from the novel George, Jay, and Daisy. Fitzgerald pieces together a great depiction that chasing The American Dream often times leads to unhappiness.

This novel at first can be seen as as a tragic love story on surface level, but with deeper understanding the story can also be understood as a gloomy depiction of The American Dream. Fitzgerald challenges the theory that here in the states is a place where anybody can reach the top with a lot of hard work. Fitzgerald uses Jay Gatsby for both the corrupted dream and uncorrupted dream. Gatsby views money as the fix it tool to all his problems, he chases it via schemes, and even he changes himself to such a degree that he becomes empty and loses sight of everything. Though, Gatsby hunger for money is also fueled by his love for Daisy. Gatsby demise doesn’t just stem from false belief in The American Dream, but by allowing corruption and materialistic things to overshadow his hard work, honestly, and love that Gatsby lost sight of. Nick goes on to say this to Gatsby, “You can’t repeat the past Can't repeat the past?' he cried incredulously. Why of course you can! He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand” (Citation). This helps back the idea that chasing empty, unattainable dreams will ultimately lead to tragedy. This reveals the true character of Gatsby, a young man who betted all of his chips on an idea, not seeing that these dreams are unattainable which explains why he could never see that Daisy could never love him back. 

Many people believe that to prosper in America, it’s better to be born rich. Which isn’t entirely true, which is clearly shown through Daisy’s character. Though, Daisy had already had money she didn’t need to work for it, her demise came from wanting more money, more status, more attention which could easily be attributed to The American Dream. Daisy character had this unrealistic idea of trying to have it all. Daisy goes on to say this, “That’s because your mother wanted to show you off” (Citation). This quote shows Daisy’s selfishness, when she brings out her daughter not to show she loves her but because, she wants that attention. In Daisy’s eye everyone is viewed as an object. This is important as it is connected to the unrealistic political theory, because the idea she is chasing is to fulfil this dream and more which is in the end destructive to her and others and leads to her being unhappy. All of this to try and achieve the idea that she has attained The Dream through wealth, status, and the picture-perfect family. The true American Dream cannot be achieved if you denied yourself of your true love for a man who has more money, if you are actively seeking out status and attention. This can all be correlated to the idea of The American Dream. 

Lastly, we have George Wilson, a man who only wanted to move away with his wife and start a new life somewhere beautiful. Wilson is struggling mechanic who we can say realized achieving The American Dream may not be possible, but this is wiped away as he wants to fulfil his wife’s dream of living The American Dream. This causes Wilson to willingly follow the ideology to work hard and being determined will in the end make him successful. Though, again not entirely true as his wife is having an affair and then dies, as well as him. Nick goes on to say this, “there is a damp gleam of hope in his eyes” (Citation). This shows that Wilson was hanging onto a false idea that ultimately led to his demise. Wilson is doing all of these things just to try and put him and his wife in the position to try and climb the ranks only to be shot down. This helps illustrate the novels critique that chasing hollow dreams to attain The American Dream only proves that everyone comes up short in the end. The American Dream definitely not alive and well for the poor Wilsons. This further proves that almost every character in the novel is blindly following the false dream of making it, only to lead them to their ultimate self-destruction.

Never give up. The sky’s the limit. Be the dictator of your own life. The foundation to every I could do anything as long as I set my mind to it, is The American Dream, or so we thought. Though, The American Dream provides us with inspiration and can be moving, it can also cause issues and also is in truth false. Rodger Pearson a scholar who wrote “Gatsby: False Prophet of the American Dream” goes on to say, “The American Dream, or myth, is an ever-recurring theme in American literature” (Pearson 638). This political theory has been so ingrained in America that we are being led astray from the real realities of how the world works. Pearson agrees that in fact The American Dream is a “myth”, a dream that has become a product of many unrealistic expectations. Pearson also says that Gatsby is a great character because, “He is also its unwitting prophet, for his failure and destruction server as a portent for the eclipse of the American Dream.” (Pearson 639). Gatsby is the perfect choice as he is from good roots and becomes rich, only for it to be washed away in the end. All because he is chasing a dream that involves status, which includes trying to have Daisy by his side. Only for him to put everything aside to blindly pursue her. This causing him to be unable to realize the dream of having the wife, the money, the house, and all of what the American dream embodies is not realistic.

Throughout the novel the theme of chasing unrealistic aspirations clearly shows that they chase is not worth it. Zamira Hodo wrote “The Failure of The American Dream in The Great Gatsby” she goes on to say, “Gatsby thinks that he has to “establish himself as somebody” for the achievement of the American dream.” (Hodo 304). This helps back the idea that chasing after the dream was about creating status for himself. In this helps connect the idea that chasing and trying to achieve the dream only contributed to their corruption and ultimate demise. Which helped back the argument that these three characters chase for their hollow dreams led to misery and unhappiness.

Throughout the novel of Francis Scott Fitzgerald, illustrated a civilization has twisted the meaning of The American Dream through Gatsby, Daisy, and George interpretation of chasing their version of the “dream”. The chase helped carry them blindly to their demise, all for the status, the attention, money, and the picture-perfect American lifestyle. This novel helped convey the cautionary message that the chase doesn’t always lead to success. 

29 April 2022
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