The American dream. Everyone has different opinions on what the American dream is. Their "ultimate goal" in life. The people in The Great Gatsby think they are living that dream, but I beg to differ. The only one who I believe is living out something close to the American dream is Tom, and I will prove so.
The many different characters in this book act as if they're having the time of their life and so forth. That is so only on the outside. If you look carefully at the person inside, you can see that they aren't so happy-go-lucky as they seem. A good example would be Daisy. Sure, she's pretty and so forth. However, her flaw is that she is attracted to money. No love has to be involved in the relationship as long as her beau can provide the dough. You can see this from the fact that she was married to Tom for about 5 years and never once did she think about leaving him.
This was all for the simple fact that he had all the superficial qualities that anyone can have. He's rich, he's big and hulking, and he's very offensive. Therefore, although she did not love Tom, she knew he would provide for her with both money and protection. That is why she did not live the American dream. The American dream is all about happiness. I believe that if you are happy with what has happened with you in life, then you have lived the American dream. Sure Daisy seems happy, but inside she went through 5 years of hell.
My second example is Gatsby. There could not be a better example of someone who has lived a life that is a total opposite to American dream. How did he become rich? He was a bootlegger. He got his money illegally. What did he concentrate on for the past 5 years? He arranged parties and gatherings to try to get close to the only thing that gave him a meaning to live: Daisy. Was he ever happy during that time? I highly doubt it. He had fun, bootlegging and making money and getting together with lots of so called "friends." All just to get close to Daisy. Did he even succeed in winning her? No, and that's the point. He was unsatisfied with life and in the end, someone had killed him. It wouldn't have mattered because had someone not killed him, I'm sure he would have committed suicide. He couldn't bear to live another second in life. You could tell because as I stated before, all he lived for was Daisy and he couldn't have her. And so that was the end of that tale.
Tom is the one who is closest to living the American dream. He might be the antagonist of the story, but he was happy and that's what's important. He had money, looks, a wife and then some, and whatever he wanted, he would get. He always stood by what he believed in. He may have been a little snobby at times, but that's his character. He was proud of everything that he had. One example of this is the line where he says, "I have a nice place here." That is a good example of how he is proud of what he has, but is a little snobby about it. Although I still believe that Tom is the antagonist of the story, I strongly believe that Tom fulfills what I believe to be the qualifications of living the American dream.
Before I end this, I leave you with this: If you were to choose between being rich and being happy, which would you choose? If you chose rich, then all I can say is that you'll probably live a life similar to that of Daisy or Gatsby. If you chose being happy, though, then either this essay had some meaning or you already had some idea about the American dream.