The American Dream in “The Great Gatsby”

Subject: Literature
Pages: 2
Words: 608
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: School

The American Dream is a vision that observes that America is a land that should provide a fuller, more productive, and a better life for its citizens. Besides, social order should equalize every woman and man to embrace the fullest capable stature and be seen for what they are irrespective of their position or birth (Adams, 308). Through the vision, every American citizen is psyched to possess an eternal aspiration that the country will afford them social and economic development. The current American Dream concept is embedded with industriousness and hard work, just as it used to be during the traditional mindset of Americans where both genders could achieve whatever they wanted as long as they were motivated to attain it (Literary Articles). However, in literature, the American Dream ideology similarly depicts instances of destructive forces other than its benefits when individuals use discreditable means to embrace and achieve the concept. For example, in Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, the American Dream acts destructively on the main character.

Gatsby is a dreamer and yearns to live a luxurious life which mirrors the American dream where someone poor can rise and have wealth and richness. Gatsby believes that he can repeat the past by regaining Daisy’s love. In the first chapter, Gatsby dreams and longs for the day that Daisy will leave her husband Buchanan for him. Gatsby loves Daisy despite being married to Tom Buchanan. In his attempts to win her love, Gatsby buys a lavish home in West Egg, holds expensive parties, buys expensive shirts of every color, and purchases cars to impress Daisy. The past that Gatsby hopes to recreate is irretrievable as Daisy is already a mother and a wife. Again, Gatsby has a secret place where he hopes to climb and “gulp down the incomparable milk of wonder,” which he holds in the heart for Daisy (Fitzgerald 12). His dream is an illusion of the past, and the quest to get happiness and love is never realized in the tragic ending.

The attempt to realize the American dream is appealing to Gatsby. He believes that having a lot of money and wealth is an essential thing in life. The belief motivates him to seek ways of accumulating wealth to win Daisy’s love. Gatsby is materialistic, and his voice is “full of money—that was the inexhaustible charm” (Fitzgerald 106). He is driven by the need to have excessive luxury and unprecedented prosperity to please Daisy. Indeed, the self-made materialistic inspiration of wealth is fuelled by the need to impress Daisy.

Gatsby overcomes his poor past in an attempt to gain an incredible amount of money and becomes rich. Even though he manages to gain money, the American dream is not attainable for him. Notably, using the characters, Fitzgerald analyzes the idea that any person is able to rise up on top as the dream stipulates. According to the American dream, everyone, irrespective of nationality, class, race, and gender, can become successful in America if one works hard. Many of the characters in the novel are centered on the American dream, as evident from their motivations and desires. Gatsby comes from a poor background and rises to richness. However, it is important to consider that the American dream recognizes people who rise to achieve their goals through hard work and honest means. However, in Gatsby’s case, he quickly acquires his huge amount of money through crime. He does not work hard while in Dan Cody. He turns to crime to achieve his wealth desires. Again, his success does not last as his quest to win Daisy makes him lose everything he has and ends in tragedy.

Works Cited

Adams, James Truslow. The Epic of America. Transaction Publishers, 2012.

Fitzgerald, F.Scott. The Great Gatsby. Penguin Books, 1950.

Literary Articles. ‘‘Themes in Literature: Literary Themes American Dream.’’, 2012.