How The American Dream Dies In The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby can be described as a beautiful piece of literature. It provides a vivid look into American life during 1920’s America. The demise of American Dream shows the core characteristics that characterize the “Lost Generation”, 1920’s social structure. The American Dream is no longer a noble idea. It now stands for the corruption in 1920’s society. The Great Gatsby portrays the demise of America, the new Eden. This is illustrated through the actions taken by the characters as Gatsby and Daisy fail to achieve the success they desire.

The American Dream of Modernism, which refers to America’s new Eden, is one of its main ideas. It is a land filled with beauty, bounty as well as opportunity and endless resources. The Great Gatsby’s characters don’t care about or protect this New Eden. They only corrupt, destroy, and abuse it for their greed for power and money. People like Gatsby and Jordan live a materialistic life. This theme is a constant throughout the novel. Daisy is especially consumed by the desire to have wealth. Gatsby calls her “full money” (127). The 1920’s society is characterised by an insatiable desire for pleasure and a lack of moral values. Gatsby’s extravagant parties are a hallmark of summertime. Gatsby party hosts people from all parts of New York City. They don’t know Gatsby, but they do hear rumors about him. It doesn’t matter what they do, they are just interested in getting drunk at parties such as Gatsby. For most characters, this pursuit is their main priority. They seem to have little respect for America’s opportunity and beauty. Gatsby’s party guest says that he likes to go, and doesn’t care about what he does, so he always has a good time (45). Gatsby’s parties are dangerous and destructive. Nick stated that “Mondays eight servants” include an extra gardener, who toils all day with mops…. These people don’t give a damn about their actions, regardless of how damaging they are, as long that they achieve their financial and leisure goals.

American Dreams are characterized by perseverance and hope. These two characteristics can help you achieve your goals. This may have been true for others, but it isn’t for Gatsby. The ultimate goal of all he did was Daisy. All of his efforts to attract Daisy’s attention, including the extravagant parties, large mansions, and lavish clothes, were all attempts at attracting her attention. Gatsby didn’t realize that his dream was impossible. He makes Daisy feel like something she’s not. Gatsby’s dreams and wants make her more attractive than the person who actually knows her. Gatsby and Daisy finally meet after five years. Nick remarks that Daisy may have moments when she fails to live up to his expectations – but it is not because of her fault, but the colossal vitality he has created (101). He can never achieve the fantasy he has created. “He is determined to get Daisy to say that he loves you, but he doesn’t want anything less.” (116). He wants Daisy so much that he finally realized that his dream could not be realized. Gatsby is chasing an illusion while neglecting the reality of life. As Gatsby chases his dream, it becomes more distant from reality, allowing him to drift further away from the real. Nick writes at the end of the book that Gatsby had traveled a long distance to reach this blue lawn. His dream must seem so close that it is impossible for him to not grasp it (189). Gatsby is a man who travels far and has hope for the future. Unfortunately, this hope was lost along with Daisy’s life.

The novel The Great Gatsby challenges the notion that an independent, self-reliant person can succeed and get anywhere provided they have faith in themselves. These main characters are the exact opposite of self-reliant, independent people. They are socially conscious and reliant on others for their existence. Jordan Baker told Nick at one party that she likes large parties. They are intimate.

Small parties don’t have privacy.” (54). This statement is totally ironic, as large parties aren’t intimate. The 1920’s society wanted to be social and move around at parties. Nick also notices that there is a lot of chatter and laughter at the party. It is apparent that everyone in society is completely uncaring about their whole existence. This goes beyond social events. This carelessness is one characteristic of the Upper class, better known as “The Lost Generation.” It makes it impossible for them to be independent. They rely on others to fix problems when they don’t like them. Nick sees this in Daisy and Tom. Nick realizes that these people can’t rely on their own money and instead rely on others.


  • rosewebb

    Rose Webb is an educational blogger and volunteer who also studies for a degree in law. She loves to write about her experiences and share her knowledge with others, and is passionate about helping others to achieve their goals.

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