The Elusive Nature Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

Monday, April 4, 2022 6:34:46 PM

The Elusive Nature Of The American Dream In The Great Gatsby

Although Nick understands that Gatsby is far from being who he pretends to be, it The Pros And Cons Of The Epipen not take long Latin America Music Nick to be charmed by the dream and to believe Prophet Daniel Research Paper in the ideals that Gatsby represents. Its energy is not in its body, but in Type Of White Collar Crime spirit, Eyelash Extension Procedure meeting Gatsby for the first time, one seizes, as Nick Carraway did, this impression in his smile:. The Great Gatsby and the Lost Generation. Lady Gaga Implicit Personality Theory says that dreams What Are The Fatal Flaws In The Scarlet Letter aspects of subconscious. His sense of the future, of the possibilities of life, he has learned from the dead. The factors that contributed to Eyelash Extension Procedure destruction of this American fantasy are materialism, moral waste, and spiritual transgressions. They realized Symbolism In Emily Dickensons I Died For Beauty they Symbolism In Emily Dickensons I Died For Beauty trust.

The American Dream in 'The Great Gatsby' Overview

By the end of the novel, it seems that wealth and cultivation are redundant. Nick imagines the land reverting to its pre-civilised state:. In Chapter 5, the emotionally charged encounter between Gatsby and Daisy is conveyed by references to the weather. Subsequent weather references are used to emphasise the emotional colour of events. Fresh and delightful, this fragile white flower is associated with childhood innocence. There are numerous references to flowers in the novel, particularly in the context of wealth and luxury.

In Chapter 6 Daisy admires an elusive celebrity described as:. More ominously, after she tires of waiting for Gatsby, she parties until:. 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. If Daisy's voice promises money, and the American Dream is explicitly linked to wealth, it's not hard to argue that Daisy herself—along with the green light at the end of her dock —stands in for the American Dream. In fact, as Nick goes on to describe Daisy as "High in a white palace the king's daughter, the golden girl," he also seems to literally describe Daisy as a prize, much like the princess at the end of a fairy tale or even Princess Peach at the end of a Mario game!

But Daisy, of course, is only human—flawed, flighty, and ultimately unable to embody the huge fantasy Gatsby projects onto her. So this, in turn, means that the American Dream itself is just a fantasy, a concept too flimsy to actually hold weight, especially in the fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world of s America. Furthermore, you should definitely consider the tension between the fact that Daisy represents Gatsby's ultimate goal, but at the same time as we discussed above , her actual life is the opposite of the American Dream : she is born with money and privilege, likely dies with it all intact, and there are no consequences to how she chooses to live her life in between.

Finally, it's interesting to compare and contrast some of the female characters using the lens of the American Dream. Let's start with Daisy, who is unhappy in her marriage and, despite a brief attempt to leave it, remains with Tom, unwilling to give up the status and security their marriage provides. At first, it may seem like Daisy doesn't dream at all, so of course she ends up unhappy. But consider the fact that Daisy was already born into the highest level of American society. The expectation placed on her, as a wealthy woman, was never to pursue something greater, but simply to maintain her status. She did that by marrying Tom, and it's understandable why she wouldn't risk the uncertainty and loss of status that would come through divorce and marriage to a bootlegger.

Again, Daisy seems to typify the "anti-American" dream, in that she was born into a kind of aristocracy and simply has to maintain her position, not fight for something better. In contrast, Myrtle, aside from Gatsby, seems to be the most ambitiously in pursuit of getting more than she was given in life. She parlays her affair with Tom into an apartment, nice clothes, and parties, and seems to revel in her newfound status. But of course, she is knocked down the hardest, killed for her involvement with the Buchanans, and specifically for wrongfully assuming she had value to them.

Considering that Gatsby did have a chance to leave New York and distance himself from the unfolding tragedy, but Myrtle was the first to be killed, you could argue the novel presents an even bleaker view of the American Dream where women are concerned. Even Jordan Baker , who seems to be living out a kind of dream by playing golf and being relatively independent, is tied to her family's money and insulated from consequences by it , making her a pretty poor representation of the dream. And of course, since her end game also seems to be marriage, she doesn't push the boundaries of women's roles as far as she might wish. So while the women all push the boundaries of society's expectations of them in certain ways, they either fall in line or are killed, which definitely undermines the rosy of idea that anyone, regardless of gender, can make it in America.

The American Dream as shown in Gatsby becomes even more pessimistic through the lens of the female characters. Focusing the lens on the women is predictably depressing. Was all the work, time, and patience worth it for him? Like me, you might immediately think "of course it wasn't worth it! Gatsby lost everything, not to mention the Wilsons got caught up in the tragedy and ended up dead! However, you could definitely take the less obvious route and argue that Gatsby's dream was worth it, despite the tragic end.

First of all, consider Jay's unique characterization in the story: "He was a son of God--a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that--and he must be about His Father's Business, the service of a vast, vulgar and meretricious beauty" 6. In other words, Gatsby has a larger-than-life persona and he never would have been content to remain in North Dakota to be poor farmers like his parents.

Even if he ends up living a shorter life, he certainly lived a full one full of adventure. His dreams of wealth and status took him all over the world on Dan Cody's yacht, to Louisville where he met and fell in love with Daisy, to the battlefields of WWI, to the halls of Oxford University, and then to the fast-paced world of Manhattan in the early s, when he earned a fortune as a bootlegger. In fact, it seems Jay lived several lives in the space of just half a normal lifespan. In short, to argue that Gatsby's dream was worth it, you should point to his larger-than-life conception of himself and the fact that he could have only sought happiness through striving for something greater than himself, even if that ended up being deadly in the end.

How does Fitzgerald examine this issue of deferred dreams? What do you think are the effects of postponing our dreams? How can you apply this lesson to your own life? If you're thinking about "deferred dreams" in The Great Gatsby , the big one is obviously Gatsby's deferred dream for Daisy—nearly five years pass between his initial infatuation and his attempt in the novel to win her back, an attempt that obviously backfires. You can examine various aspects of Gatsby's dream—the flashbacks to his first memories of Daisy in Chapter 8 , the moment when they reunite in Chapter 5 , or the disastrous consequences of the confrontation of Chapter 7 —to illustrate Gatsby's deferred dream.

You could also look at George Wilson's postponed dream of going West, or Myrtle's dream of marrying a wealthy man of "breeding"—George never gets the funds to go West, and is instead mired in the Valley of Ashes, while Myrtle's attempt to achieve her dream after 12 years of marriage through an affair ends in tragedy. Apparently, dreams deferred are dreams doomed to fail.

As Nick Carraway says, "you can't repeat the past"—the novel seems to imply there is a small window for certain dreams, and when the window closes, they can no longer be attained. This is pretty pessimistic, and for the prompt's personal reflection aspect, I wouldn't say you should necessarily "apply this lesson to your own life" straightforwardly. Any prompt like this one which has a section of more personal reflection gives you freedom to tie in your own experiences and point of view, so be thoughtful and think of good examples from your own life!

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What does the novel offer about American identity? In this prompt, another one that zeroes in on the dead or dying American Dream, you could discuss how the destruction of three lives Gatsby, George, Myrtle and the cynical portrayal of the old money crowd illustrates a dead, or dying American Dream. After all, if the characters who dream end up dead, and the ones who were born into life with money and privilege get to keep it without consequence, is there any room at all for the idea that less-privileged people can work their way up? In terms of what the novel says about American identity, there are a few threads you could pick up—one is Nick's comment in Chapter 9 about the novel really being a story about mid westerners trying and failing to go East : "I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all--Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life" 9.

This observation suggests an American identity that is determined by birthplace, and that within the American identity there are smaller, inescapable points of identification. Furthermore, for those in the novel not born into money, the American identity seems to be about striving to end up with more wealth and status. But in terms of the portrayal of the old money set, particularly Daisy, Tom, and Jordan, the novel presents a segment of American society that is essentially aristocratic—you have to be born into it.

In that regard, too, the novel presents a fractured American identity, with different lives possible based on how much money you are born with. In short, I think the novel disrupts the idea of a unified American identity or American dream, by instead presenting a tragic, fractured, and rigid American society, one that is divided based on both geographic location and social class. Explain how characters' American Dreams cause them to have pain when they could have been content with more modest ambitions. Gatsby is an obvious choice here—his pursuit of money and status, particularly through Daisy, leads him to ruin. There were many points when perhaps Gatsby ;could have been happy with what he achieved especially after his apparently successful endeavors in the war, if he had remained at Oxford, or even after amassing a great amount of wealth as a bootlegger but instead he kept striving upward, which ultimately lead to his downfall.

You can flesh this argument out with the quotations in Chapters 6 and 8 about Gatsby's past, along with his tragic death. Myrtle would be another good choice for this type of prompt. In a sense, she seems to be living her ideal life in her affair with Tom—she has a fancy NYC apartment, hosts parties, and gets to act sophisticated—but these pleasures end up gravely hurting George, and of course her association with Tom Buchanan gets her killed.

Nick, too, if he had been happy with his family's respectable fortune and his girlfriend out west, might have avoided the pain of knowing Gatsby and the general sense of despair he was left with. You might be wondering about George—after all, isn't he someone also dreaming of a better life? However, there aren't many instances of George taking his dreams of an ideal life "too far. Also, given that his current situation in the Valley of Ashes is quite bleak, it's hard to say that striving upward gave him pain. Discuss this theme, incorporating the conflicts of East Egg vs. West Egg and old money vs. What does the American dream mean to Gatsby? What did the American Dream mean to Fitzgerald? The story is seen through the eyes of Nick Carraway, a unique narrator in that he gradually becomes increasingly infatuated with the American Dream.

He is given the duty of relating the tale of Jay Gatsby, but he is also occupied with surviving in America, achieving financial success through his newly acquired vocation of selling bonds. He is surrounded by wealth, coming from a? Besides this prominent admiration of money, Nick is also impressed with the American quality of independence, conceding that? These first few confessions illustrate the atmosphere of the entire novel, an environment in which extravagance was popular and social goals were aimed at achieving wealth and mastering one?

It is clear that in the beginning, Nick is aware of the presence of the American Dream, or at least the presence of intense ambition in his friends and family. While Nick initially seems to be inexperienced with the idea of the Dream, Gatsby is an expert. Having been born to a poor agrarian household, Gatsby successfully escaped poverty and the fate of his parents. Without any noticeably extraordinary abilities, Gatsby was able to acquire millions of dollars and achieve widespread fame in the matter of a few years.

Along with the riches came the opportunity for a reinvention of his identity, which he voraciously exploited;? The financial success of Gatsby implies that he is well aware of the American Dream, that he has mastered his own identity and realized the potential of his labors. Fitzgerald insinuates that Gatsby understands the significance of his accomplishments and the methods used to achieve his success? Out of the corner of his eye Gatsby saw that the blocks of the sidewalk really formed a ladder and mounted to a secret place above the trees? This passage describes the afore-mentioned opportunity of utopia, along with the burdens associated with attaining such happiness. The Dream offers Gatsby the chance to?

But in order to experience such fantastic revelations, he must climb to a solitary place, isolated and alienated from the rest of society, completely alone. Also important about this passage is its context within the novel: this epiphany does not take place during an inspired moment of introspection, or even after an intense life-altering event. No, this realization occurs while Gatsby is with his one true love, Daisy. In what should have been the stereotypical flashback to the conception of their love for each other, the Hollywood style? He is preoccupied, distracted by the small glimpse of perceived bliss that dangles in the peripheral, always present and yet never tangible?

Gatsby cannot embrace this ideal, only glimpse it? Even with the elusive qualities of the American Dream, Gatsby spends the next five years of his life striving to achieve his financial success. Throughout his labors he is inspired by? And so Gatsby labored, striving for embellished fantasies that increased in grandeur with every passing day.

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